Pader Girls Academy
Christian Counseling Fellowship

The Christian Counseling Fellowship (CCF) was founded in 2002 to address the plight of young mothers returning from LRA captivity and other vulnerable children who were victims of abuse, violence or exploitation during the 20 years of armed conflict. CCF has evolved from a narrowly-focused community- based organization to a multi-faceted NGO with a mission to respond to the plight of young mothers, orphans and vulnerable children in a holistic, regional manner. CCF provides a wide range of services in education, child protection, health care, and youth livelihoods. To date, CCF has served more than 4,000 children who returned from LRA captivity.

In 2007, CCF founded the Pader Girls Academy (PGA). Initially a reception center for girls who escaped or were rescued from LRA captivity, under the leadership of Alice Achan, and with funding from the Uganda Fund and other international donors, PGA was transformed into a secondary boarding school that fills a major void in service to girls affected by conflict: it is the only school in northern Uganda where girls who are pregnant or have children can be educated. PGA was founded to reintegrate and educate girls who were victims of sexual violence at the hands of the LRA or in IDP camps. PGA also welcomes girls who have become pregnant in the aftermath of the conflict; sexual violence in post-conflict communities is common, and in northern Uganda often seemingly consensual relationships have a distinctly coercive element and are rooted in the girls’ economic disempowerment. PGA is unique in that it houses and educates both the girls and their infants on its campus. In 2010, PGA obtained registration with the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports and the school is now an official regional testing center. PGA has an average annual enrollment of 350 students.

In 2013, CCF founded a second campus – the Nwoya Girls Academy – to continue meeting the extraordinary demand for quality education for vulnerable girls in the North.

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Success Stories:

Student Profile: Judith Adong

Judith AdongJudith (18) was born in a small village with the highest number of LRA child abductions in Lamiyo Sub-County. Judith was not abducted. The eldest of six children, she lived with an ill mother. At the age of 13, Judith was sexually abused by a man twice her late father’s age. Judith became pregnant from the relationship and the man never fulfilled his promises to take care of Judith and her siblings. Judith was rejected by her community when her father was dying of cancer. In 2011, Judith was identified by PGA as a vulnerable girl in need of support; she enrolled in senior one and moved on campus with her baby. Judith recalls, “I couldn’t believe that I had gotten another opportunity to return to school, I particularly feared the shame of studying while my baby is beside me. I even thought of giving up this opportunity, at one point, I also thought of leaving the child with the old grandmother but I knew this would haunt me for the rest of my life so I decided to take up to books with my baby Michel.”

At PGA, Judith attends classes Monday through Friday and on weekends she participates in vocational training. Interactions with PGA classmates have encouraged her to accept who she is, forget her past and accept her baby as a special gift from God. Her participation in the school scripture union activity, one of the clubs within Pader Girls Academy has changed her attitude towards children. Michael attends PGA daycare where is receives instruction as part of the new early childhood education program.

Since arriving at PGA, Judith has become happier and her dreams have expanded. She wants to become a nurse. Judith’s education is garnering respect from her family and community. She proudly describes, “my mother often calls me home to settle minor conflicts among my siblings because of the discipline I have shown, she tells me all her hope now lies in me and this gives me a reason to concentrate in class and even double my effort.” Judith is just one student whose story reveals the continued need for targeted institutional support for vulnerable girls in northern Uganda.

Student Reactions
“I love the way our teachers and Matrons treat us from school, I feel cared for, loved and respected as a child mother. I always feel my baby is safer from the school because our matrons advise us on how to behave and live a disciplined life more than my step-mother can tell me. I used to think my condition is the worst but when I met fellow classmates from the other sub counties with similar problems, others worse than mine, I got encouraged to concentrate in books to better change my condition given this second opportunity.”
- Anonymous PGA Student Judith Adong

“I graduated from Pader Girls Academy and I am working in the local restaurant. I was really frustrated some time back. I thank God, by the grace, He took me to Pader Girls and I got knowledge in hotel management and really my life is almost getting to that destiny I’m supposed to reach.”
- Grace, PGA graduate


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