Margaret, 27, served as a communications officer for World Vision in Uganda. She died suddenly on July 31 at Gulu Independent Hospital, just 25 minutes after collapsing during lunch in a restaurant in Gulu Town, Uganda. Michael, 40, was an advocate for children of war in northern Uganda. He died on June 20 of complications from a pulmonary embolism.
Both were integral components of World Vision's work in Uganda.
A former sponsored child from Gulu, Margaret worked for World Vision in Uganda since October 2004. Her story — along with her passionate pursuit of peace in northern Uganda — represents the best of World Vision's first fruits in its work in that region. In 1986, Margaret's parents were murdered by rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA); she and her siblings were adopted by a woman in their community.
World Vision soon came alongside the adoptive mother and Margaret, who was a sponsored child for five years. World Vision's investment enabled Margaret to complete her schooling. She went on to graduate with honors from Uganda Christian University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. Upon graduation, Margaret worked as a journalist for one of Uganda's largest newspapers before joining World Vision. At the time of her death, she was working on a master's degree in journalism and communications from Makerere University in Kampala.
As a communications officer for World Vision in Uganda, much of Margaret's time was focused on communicating the impact of the 21-year conflict in northern Uganda, where more than 30,000 children have been abducted and turned into child soldiers and sex slaves by the LRA.
Margaret grew into a woman of great courage and leadership throughout her life of service. Last December, the LRA walked out of ongoing peace talks, threatening to resume warfare. Believing that the peace talks were the only door to the restoration of peace in northern Uganda, Margaret took it upon herself (with help from World Vision) to organize a peace conference between the LRA and the government of Uganda in February.
In Margaret's own words: "Not long ago, I was a big advocate for punishment for the perpetrators [the LRA]. I thought it would be nice to watch them suffer like they made others suffer. I vividly remember refusing a handshake with an ex-rebel commander because I thought he was my parents' murderer … I never thought I could ever find it in my heart to forgive the people who deprived me of my parents' love ... But that ungodly thought changed when I joined World Vision and saw the efforts of the staff to build peace…"
Both the LRA and the government of Uganda recommitted themselves to peace talks, which continue to make progress and have brought the highest level of peace and stability that the area has known for more than two decades.
"Margaret was a courageous young woman who overcame the murder of her own parents to become an agent for peace in the conflict in northern Uganda," says Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S. "Though her death was tragic and untimely, the positive legacy of her brief life is inestimable."
A steadfast servant of the Lord actively working to build His kingdom, Margaret is survived by her mother, siblings, and many friends and extended family members who will miss her deeply. She also leaves behind two adopted children, Vivian, 18, and Rachel, 8.
>> Pray that Margaret's vision for peace, reconciliation, and development in northern Uganda would be realized, and that her life's work would inspire others who carry on in her footsteps.
>> Speak out for peace in northern Uganda.
|Read more about the peace talks between the LRA and the Ugandan government, and Margaret Alerotek's efforts to bring these talks to fruition.|
Two Ways You Can Help
|Pray that Margaret's vision for peace, reconciliation, and development in northern Uganda would be realized, and that her life's work would inspire others who carry on in her footsteps.|
Speak out for peace in northern Uganda.