“The Female Experience of War”: Helen*, 15

Sunday 8 March 2020

To mark International Women’s Day, the organisation is releasing this powerful series of photographs entitled “The Female Experience of War” to highlight the unique experiences of girls growing up in conflict.

Helen*, 15 and her sister Rita*, 9 lived in the Congo with their parents where she says “life was good”. But when war broke out in early 2018, the family were forced to flee. Helen* recalls men with machetes rampaging through their village, ‘cutting’ the men, and raping the women.

In the chaos, the sisters, who were just 13 and 6 at the time, became separated from their parents and later heard they had been killed. Day and night the pair were on the run from violent rebels, without sleep and with barely any food or water. They reached Uganda by boat and settled in a house/tent with dozens of other people for around a month before arriving at Kyaka II Refugee Settlement.