CHICAGO — Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, a Ugandan educator and CNN Hero, will attend the Chicago premiere of “Sewing Hope,” a film that documents her work restoring the lives of women and girls brutalized by Joseph Kony’s rebel army. She will visit DePaul University Feb. 16-20 and will attend the screening and discussion Feb. 19 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the lower level theater at 14 E. Jackson Blvd. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP at http://snl.depaul.edu/40.
“Sewing Hope” follows Nyirumbe as she leads a vocational school in Gulu, Uganda, where she teaches practical skills to restore independence to women and girls who were kidnapped and sexually assaulted by Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. Filmmaker Derek Watson mixes first-person accounts and edgy animation as actor Forest Whitaker narrates Nyirumbe’s fight to bring hope back to her troubled nation. Sister Nyirumbe’s story is also chronicled in book by Reggie Whitten and Nancy Henderson, also titled “Sewing Hope.”
DePaul’s School for New Learning recognized Nyirumbe with an honorary doctorate in December 2013 in partnership with Tangaza University College in Nairobi, Kenya. Founded in 1898 in Chicago, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the United States. Tangaza College is also a Catholic institution and prepares graduates for ministerial and social work.
“Sister Rosemary is a living example for DePaul and Tangaza College as we work together to develop leaders for Africa,” said Derise Tolliver Atta, associate professor in DePaul’s School for New Learning. “She stood up to Kony’s army and works unabashedly for social justice, and that resonates with DePaul students in Chicago and Africa.”
St. Monica’s Girls Tailoring Center was developed in partnership with Pros For Africa, a volunteer-led nonprofit that encourages professionals of all fields to share what they know, have and create with the children of Africa. Nyirumbe travels the world to advocate on behalf of the school and brings attention to the ongoing violence caused by rebel groups in Uganda. In 2007, she was named a CNN Hero. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, praised her mission and determination earlier this year during a visit to Uganda.
Under Nyirumbe’s leadership, St. Monica’s has adapted to the practical and trauma-induced needs of a population suffering in a civil war. Women and girls at the school receive psychological support and literacy training, as well as vocational skills like sewing and planting crops. Nyirumbe developed a program to help students earn money by creating purses from soda pop tabs. Since 2002, annual enrollment at St. Monica’s has surged to more than 300 from 31, and most leave the school with permanent jobs.
The School for New Learning at DePaul University provides a distinctive approach to learning for adults, with customized programs that build upon abilities and experiences, add knowledge and develop skills to help achieve personal and professional goals. This event is presented by the Office of the Dean and the Africa Diaspora Committee of DePaul’s School for New Learning during Black History Month. More information is online at www.snl.depaul.edu.
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