RELIGION
05/18/2014 08:33 am ET Updated May 19, 2014

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe: The Nun Working To End Violence, Sexual Exploitation In Uganda

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe recently appeared on The Colbert Report and said she felt like punching Colbert in the face for feigning indifference toward the missing girls in Nigeria.

In reality Sister Nyirumbe has dedicated her life to counteracting violence in her native Uganda.

Sister Nyirumbe has spearheaded the Saint Monica Girls' Tailoring Center for nearly 15 years, offering shelter to thousands of women who come to learn tailoring, catering and other valuable professional skills. According to Pros for Africa, a development partner of Saint Monica, many of the girls who find their ways to the center have suffered abduction, rape and torture.

Nyirumbe funds the school in part by selling bags the women make out of soda tabs. A 2013 documentary narrated by Forest Whitaker, 'Sewing Hope', tells the story of Nyirumbe's efforts to rebuild her country after 25 years of war under Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). On her Facebook page, Sister Nyirumbe writes:

For the last 30 years, I along with the other Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus based in Juba, South Sudan, have answered the call to serve the least among us from the heart of a bloody and violent civil war that decimated northern Uganda and South Sudan.

We openly defied Joseph Kony and the rebel soldiers and commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army in their 20-year reign of terror. Since 2002, we have helped more than 2,000 girls who had been previously abducted by the LRA or abandoned by their families.

In an article on Unicef's website, entitled "Trauma to Triumph: Restoring hope in post-conflict communities," Nyirumbe describes the poor condition of many of the girls she serves at Saint Monica. This, she says, it what inspires her to continue her efforts year after year.

As communities work to rebuild amid the destruction of the past two decades, the diverse needs and challenges unique to post-conflict and disarmament have inspired much of the work I undertake as the Director of St. Monica Gulu Girls’ Relief. For these children, their rights have not only been violated, they have never existed. We are working, one day at a time, to restore their dignity and to give them the skills and support they need to move forward in life.

Sister Nyirumbe's humanitarian work earned her a spot in TIME Magazine's 2014 "100 Most Influential People" list, and in 2007 she was named a CNN Hero. Nyirumbe spoke at the TIME 100 gala on the women who admire her most in the video above, and about laying out Stephen Colbert in the video below.

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