Harriet’s Story of Redemption

“It’s like a dream; I never thought I would ever recover my land”

Harriet* lost her husband in 2007, after which she endured years of abuse at the hands of prominent community members who tried to force her off the land that rightfully belonged to her. These perpetrators set her property on fire, cut down her crops, and attempted to sell portions of her land without her consent.

When Harriet pleaded with the perpetrators to stop, she was threatened and physically assaulted. She tried six times to press charges, but the cases were always dismissed—due to interference by the powerful and well-connected perpetrators. 

Redeem heard of Harriet’s case through our connections with the local police. The Mbale Team took Harriet as a client in February 2023. 

The Team quickly realized the prior investigations had been so poorly conducted that the evidence was useless in court. Further, Harriet had been so traumatized by her experiences that she felt hopeless and struggled to speak in complete sentences. 

Redeem’s investigators and attorneys partnered with local law enforcement to conduct a new investigation. Police took new statements from witnesses. In April of this year, Redeem supported the police as they arrested three perpetrators, including two government officials. 

The Mbale Team conducted an after-action event amplifying the news of the arrest to the local community, many of whom were shocked that these powerful individuals were being prosecuted. 

Mbale Team Lead Paul Woniaye speaks to the community at the after-action event

In August, Harriet was officially returned to the land that was stolen from her. The Mbale Team held a public ribbon cutting ceremony, and in coordination with the court and local authorities, planted boundary stones. Those stones serve as physical evidence of Harriet’s lawful ownership of the land and as a warning to anyone who would attempt to infringe on her boundaries. 

“It’s like a dream; I never thought I would ever recover my land,” Harriet said at the ceremony. “Thank you Redeem for helping me; my children will now have an inheritance.” 

*Name changed for privacy

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