Uganda- While spending some time in Chicago, Illinois I attended Trinity United Church of Christ and met volunteers from Invisible Children. They gave me a documentary called, “Tony” about a boy growing up in a war-torn Ugandan villages. Volunteers describe it as a story about what you can gain without losing everything.
Their first time there they met Jolly Okt who had some candid words for Western donors, “Why do you bring a pair of shoes instead of helping Africans to be able to afford their own shoes?” She helped Invisible Children get around and capture the story of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army who force kids to fight as soldiers. The western media does not really care. The children are night commuters running away from the night terror of Joseph Kony.
When they met Tony’s mother she was HIV positive and living in a displacement camp and on her death bed. She eventually died. Invisible Children’s first program was the Legacy Scholarship. Every child got a mentor including Tony who is now mentored by Jolly. They got young people to drive around America in vans, “Roadies” talking to other people in Colleges and High Schools. They inspire people to get involved through the scholarship fund as well as political pressure in Washington to stop the activities of Joseph Kony.
Three years later they went back to find Tony who was still in High School. The LRA had moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic. They led an initiative for the removal and displacement of Joseph Kony and urged Americans to assist them in the Legacy Tour. In the process they invited Tony and his friend Richard to the US to help share their stories in America. In 2010 the volunteers went to Uganda and while watching the World Cup Soccer final, the stadium was bombed by rebels and one of the volunteers from the US, Nate died.
Now they have developed the LRA Tracker which helps to warn villagers about impending danger when rebels are close to them or to provide a voice when violence has occurred. FM Radio messages and broadcasts encourage LRA rebels to deflect. The LRA has expanded into areas without radio networks, roads and standard communication but they can still be caught. Visit http://www.lracrisistracker.com/ to find out how you can help.
As the video above shows there may be hope as some rebels are surrendering and moving back home. In 2011 President Obama sent some military personnel to help fight Joseph Kony. We hope and pray that he is caught and brought to justice.