While I have you reading my blog… I want to mention another important cause, not directly related to Chile.
Northern Uganda is home to Africa’s longest running war, at 23 years. The rebel army, the LRA, led by Joseph Kony, have been abducting children and forcing them to serve as child soldiers and sex slaves. They are forced to commit horrible acts of violence on each other, their families, and villages. Resulting from the war, children have night commuted to bus terminals and basements of hospitals for safety and millions of people have been put into overcrowded and inadequate displacement camps. Peace agreements have been attempted several times, but Kony has continuously refused to sign after lengthy negotiations and has proceeded to extend the LRA’s impact to other countries in the region. “According to Human Rights Watch, in December 2008 and January 2009, the LRA brutally killed more than 865 civilians and abducted at least 160 children in eastern Congo alone. Since September 2008, over 180,000 people in Congo have been displaced by LRA attacks, as well as another 60,000 in southern Sudan.”
While Uganda is dealing with many problems that other third world countries face such as areas of health and education, ending this war is something that CAN happen and that will have an incredible impact on the ability for the country to rebuild itself. An organization called Invisible Children introduced me to this issue, and they continue to create documentarys, spread awareness, and support lobby events. Most recently I was a part of an amazing worldwide event called The Rescue for a week before my own graduation ceremony. I traveled from Boston to Harrisburg, PA then Richmond, Virginia, and finally Chicago, IL.
Please watch this video when you have a chance! How It Ends
A month later I was lucky enough to be able to make it to Washington, DC to lobby for support of The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery (now with 24 Senate co-sponsors and 103 co-sponsors in the House). What amazed me about both of these events was how the majority of advocates in attendance were teenagers and young adults in their 20s – Faith and commitment in making a difference just adds even more momentum and inspiration…
Anyways, why I thought of this now…
1. In one class at school, they are raising money for kids in Africa, so I was really happy to see that. I’d love to have my students watch some of Invisible Children’s documentarys, but unfortunately I don’t know if they will have enough English comprehension before I leave. I am really interested in learning more about what kinds of things inspire the students here in Chile. I have 3 months to find out!
2. I was reminded that I should share the story whenever I can and I’m sure I have at least one or two readers who have not heard of the situation in Uganda before now. AND my friend Laura, who I meant during The Rescue event, is from Mexico and recently was selected to go on the road on behalf of Invisible Children to help spread awareness and fundraise. However she needs to fundraise to support her 4 month trip, and is still in need of more donations. If you can, please donate to her fund because the work she will carry out this fall truly has an impact. You can donate at http://invisiblechildren.kintera.org/mysupport/lauraibarra
Great quote: “I believe that one person makes a difference, hundreds are a movement, and together everyone can change everything.”
(And for more information on the history, situation, and advocacy efforts, you can also go to www.resolveuganda.org)