How is it I just found out about this?!!!
I don’t even remember what led me to it, but I somehow ended up on the Invisible Children website. I watched a couple videos and said to myself, “I need to know more about this.”
It turns out that in 2003, three young guys from San Diego decided they wanted to film something meaningful. So they looked around for a place with conflict in the world, begged some money for camera equipment and plane tickets, and took off for Uganda.
In Uganda they found thousands of children commuting (walking) from their villages to the cities each night to sleep. The children were afraid of sleeping at home because the rebel armies might kidnap them and force them to join the army. It was safer for them to sleep in the bus depot then in their home.
It turns out this guy, Joseph Kony, wanted to rebel against the Ugandan government some time back. They call themselves the LRA. That didn’t work out, but in the process he created this horrifying child army.
Why would the children be in the army, you might ask? Well, he kidnaps them from their homes- he focuses on kids between 8 and 12. Then he brings them back to his camp and if one kid tries to escape, or doesn’t behave well, he kills that kid in front of all the other ones. After that, they do everything he says because they don’t want to die.
Their childhoods are completely stolen. Some of the children who have escaped tell stories of dropping babies in rivers and burning whole families in their huts when they were 11 and 12 years old. It’s heartbreaking and horrifying. And there is absolutely no purpose to it.
The part that is almost the worst for me is that I’d never even heard about it until two weeks ago. I don’t live under a rock. How is it possible that I didn’t know this was going on? How is it possible that I’ve heard how many stories about Sarah Palin’s jacket, but I’d never heard about these poor children?
Well, now I know. Thanks to the three guys from San Diego who came back from Uganda and said, “This isn’t right. We’re going to do something.” It’s amazing and inspiring what they’ve been able to accomplish in 7 years. I highly recommend browsing the website invisiblechildren.com.
The children in Uganda no longer have to commute to the cities at night,and Invisible Children is funding a school and mentorship program to help the children of Uganda get educated.
They are also building radio towers in parts of the Congo, because that’s where the LRA has migrated. The radio towers warn the people in local villages if the LRA is near. It’s an early warning system that saves lives.
Anyway, something about this really struck me and I’m on fire about it now. The more I learn, the more horrified I am by Joseph Kony, and in contrast, inspired by the Invisible Children founders and organization.
I can hardly believe that this kind of thing is going on in the world today, but I’m going to do what I can to stop it- even with only the smallest action of buying a bracelet or donating some money. Please feel free to do the same if the spirit moves you.
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