Name: Judith Draleru
Organization: United Nations Volunteer Programme
Functional Title: Midwife
Country: Uganda
Course participated in: Master’s in Conflictology

Judith Draleru is a midwife in South Sudan as a United Nations Volunteer. She took a Master in Conflictology offered by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Univeristat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC).

Judith grew up in North Uganda. When the war broke out in 1979, she was separated from her parents at the age of five, raped, and then forced to live with her maternal aunties who bullied her. Later she built up the courage to leave them to live with her paternal aunt, who inspired her to go to school. Her life has been extremely difficult but she never gave up on her dreams: “I was always a girl who thought that one day maybe I’ll be a big person.” 

A colleague told her about UNITAR and she started investigating courses straight away. Eventually, she came across the Master in Conflictology course and knew that she had to take it. She was thrilled when she discovered that her scholarship application had been successful: “You don’t know how happy I was when I received the scholarship news… It was the very day my grandmother died, and I said, she left me with blessings, I saw her death as a blessing to me.” 

Juggling her duties as a mother, full-time employee, and student was a tough challenge. Fortunately, the course was online, which made life a bit easier: “The Bachelor’s was a bit hectic for me, going face-to-face and then going back… The online course is much easier, I can be with my family as I do assignments… [It] is more convenient for me than the distance I had for my bachelor’s course.” 

“I have come to understand that there is no culture that is superior, we only need to understand why people are behaving this way and suit their needs […] Looking at the philosophy of peace, it tells us everyone is important, which means all of us have something to contribute.” 

The course has made a tremendous impact in her professional life: “The UNITAR knowledge and skills have improved my abilities so much to deliver with confidence in the conflict area […] the course has encouraged me so much […] I came to understand that I am a very important person, even if I am just one.”

She was incredibly grateful for the opportunity: “I want to thank UNITAR so much for this offer, that finally, before I was not known, now I am a big woman who is recognized at the international level.”

She hopes that she can give something back in the future: “I told my Executive Director, maybe one day I will also teach at UNITAR and advocate for peace in the world.”

Judith’s current work as a United Nations Volunteer midwife focuses on reducing preventable deaths and improving maternal and child health in South Sudan through mentoring and training. The midwives offer reproductive health services such as family planning, antenatal care, labour, delivery, postnatal care, management of complications, as well as services on sexual and gender-based violence, clinical management of rape, adolescent and youth-friendly interventions, community awareness, and home visits.

Without peace and security, the work of midwives is negatively affected and maternal and new-born deaths increase. The Master in Conflictology has helped Judith to analyze situations at work, prevent or solve conflicts between staff, put students at ease, and advocate for peace.

One baby at a time

Listen to her story on TEDx: One baby at a time, by Judith Draleru at TEDxBonn.

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