Lady Sharia (26) is a well-known musician in Gulu. In her songs she sings about the equality of men and women, the dangers of ‘sugar daddies’, and female empowerment in the otherwise male-dominated Acholi society.
She was not always so lucky though. She was abducted by the LRA at the age of 13 to serve as a child soldier, and upon arrival, she was asked to pick a T-Shirt from a pile on the floor. “This is how you found your husband, the owner of the T-shirt”, she recalls, and she immediately fell pregnant with her first child in the bush.
After her escape three years later she felt out of place at home and had suicidal thoughts. She was hearing voices, had flashbacks of killings and felt like she was going insane. She joined the army for some time to feel normal. But her commanders were unhappy at the thought of keeping her, seeing that she was young and fragile, not cut out to be a soldier. She was sent back to finish school and get training in tailoring. She later joined the army band where she learned to play music and returned to Gulu in 2009.