Dear Desire,

While we have not met in person and while I learnt of your suffering through social media, I am really glad I chose not to ignore your story. My tiny little bit of AMPLIFYING YOUR VOICE by publishing your story on the website of the organisation for which I am Managing Director seems to have been quite effective. And even the more effective, is when I paid just a little bit to boast your story so that it can reach a wider audience.

Well, it seems as though, like the sound of a a mosquito buzzing ensures one does not get a good nights sleep, your story has indeed caused some to have sleepless nights and to have significant worries. This is how I know so. Over this weekend I have received direct attacks from people likely associated with African Retreat Centre.

Brochure sent to my messenger by Moses Engwau

Take, for example, this attack from one called Olivia, which she or he attempted to post on our website as a comment (copied verbatim, only correcting grammar and typos for the benefit of our readers):

“Do you validate the stories/blogs you publish given your intended and stated objectives?

The Karakire story, for example, you relied solely on her writings without any evident attempt to engage her alleged perpetrators and perhaps thereafter share a balanced, objective opinion being the advocacy outfit you are.

It is sad that you would carelessly tarnish other organizations that could be your partners in achieving your objectives for reasons best known to yourselves.

The basic expectation from a group like yours is to be fair, objective and balanced. Hear both sides before proffering an opinion to further your cause. Surely this should be the minimum standard and expectation – professional conduct?

This is more so in this case where the person you are quoting was actually not necessarily merely carrying out a journalistic assignment at the stated rehab but was there for a purpose.

Are you familiar with her illness, how long she’s suffered from it, its characteristics, how it affects her, how she ended up at the center, what the center tried to do (their perspective), her previous treatment attempts, how unsuccessful they were, her behavior towards the prior service providers, etc?

Please, be well informed, balanced and fair before you spread unverified information. This is what your founders and stakeholders (including judges!) would expect.”

Olivia (presumably of the Africa Retreat Centre)

Personally, as a woman of substance, Norah Owaraga, I will not dignify this with a response. I will add however, that it kind of seemingly confirms the gist of how you, Desire, did describe them in your story.

As the Managing Director of CPAR Uganda Ltd, however, I confirm that we did not proffer an opinion. We simply amplified Desire’s voice; while at the same time we did share the official response to your story that was given by the Africa Retreat Centre. We scanned and uploaded their letter and included it in every blog post on your story that we shared.

It is not our job to do the necessary investigations of healthcare facilities. It is our job to bring to the attention of the authorities complaints that are made about healthcare facilities and to ask them to take the necessary actions.

Thank you Desire for being brave and sharing your story. It is already making a difference me thinks. Continue healing and fighting back.

By Norah Owaraga

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