Editor’s Note: Queeno Bianka, one of St. Kizito Foundation’s scholars, wrote the following post. Our team edited her post for clarity.
My name is Queeno Bianka, a child born in captivity in Palutaka located in South Sudan in 1996. The LRA abducted my mother; she eventually gained freedom after being rescued with the three of us in 2001. The years spent in captivity were memorable despite my age. Many challenges existed—a lack of drinking water, hunger, walking long distances day and night without rest, and carrying heavy loads. I witnessed people tortured and killed. Despite my young age, I was expected to help as my mother had younger children to care for and protect.
After being rescued, we spent six months at the Caritas Rehabilitation Center in Gulu. We then returned home to our uncle. Our uncle had his own family. One of his children told me that I was a fatherless child and that I should leave home and look for him. This incident made me realize that I was different without an identity and no home to call our own. Shortly after this, my mother left us in the care of different relatives to go back to school.
My mother completed some of her schoolings but dropped out in senior four because she couldn’t bear the pain her children were going through in her absence. I respect my mother for this brave decision, and I promised her I would study and be obedient so that whatever she missed, she would be able to get from me when I grow up.
I was brought to town to study with my uncle’s children. This is where I was first introduced to the St. Kizito Foundation. Caritas Gulu told Fr. Don Dunson about me. Arrangements were made to support me with school fees. The St. Kizito Foundation supported me from 2004 through 2019. I first attended Kasubi Primary School in Gulu. After primary school, I went onto Pope John Paul II Boarding Secondary School, completing my secondary education in 2014. St. Kizito also assisted me afterward, which allowed me to go to the Lira School of Nursing and Midwifery. Presently, I am a qualified Midwife. I am very grateful to the St. Kizito Foundation for supporting me in my studies.
I have the vision to become one of the best midwives to save the lives of mothers and their children at birth. I hope to prevent maternal mortality in the world I live in. I pray that other children, who are vulnerable like I was, will have doors open to them as were opened for me. Finally, I ask God to bless Fr. Don Dunson and the St. Kizito Foundation as they continue to bring hope to vulnerable children.