8.28.2013

Law Student Abigail Skeans Serving in Uganda

When Abigail Skeans started law school, she resolved not to pursue criminal or juvenile law. God, however, had other plans. In 2012, God brought her to Uganda to work with Children Justice Initiative (Sixty Feet) to help strengthen juvenile justice programs through legal advocacy and collaboration with government officials and international NGOs to implement case management programs and other reforms on behalf of children in East Africa.

In her latest blog post about her experiences, Abigail reflects on her first days in Uganda and the unimaginable adventure she’s had over the past year. Abigail says that on July 8, 2012, her first day in Uganda, her heart changed.

“To this day, I cannot accurately articulate the evolution that occurred in my heart during my first few hours with the nearly 200 children awaiting trial in such desperate circumstances,” she writes. “After that first experience, I have been adamantly devoted to working on their behalf.”

Abigail has witnessed transformation in many lives as she partners with Sixty Feet and other organizations that help Ugandan children whom the justice system has forgotten. She has worked to help educate children held in detention centers about their rights and duties as Ugandan citizens and inform them about the legal process. She has also helped create a database that allows government stakeholders to track a youth’s progress through the justice system.

Reflecting on the past year, Abigail says that she is on an adventure that she never could have imagined. She explains that it is an adventure that has allowed her to see how the legal progress transforms a child’s life, has required her to let go of the comfort of friends, family, and first-world luxuries, and has forced her to endure derogatory remarks, theft, and dishonesty that limits the change she wants to create.

While her journey in Africa has a unique set of challenges, Abigail works and lives by Ephesians 4:1, which says, “I then urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

She writes, “We learn that our lives are not our own, and we have a role as agents of renewal to use our talents, experiences, and training to bring about the restoration of His creation through shalom.”

Read more about Abigail’s experiences in Uganda at the Center for Global Justice blog.