Invisible Children benefit spreads word for cause

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Seniors Karen Fox and Molly Roberts volunteer with the rest of the Invisble Children club to raise awareness about child soldiers at Spirito Hall on Thursday, December 9th. Photo Credit: Lauren Parrino/ The Foothill Dragon Press.

For over 20 years, northern Ugandan children between the ages of 5 and 12 have lived in fear of being abducted and forced to serve in Joseph Kony’s sectarian Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA seeks to overthrow the Ugandan Government by inflicting brutal violence,  including rape, kidnapping, torture, and murder on the population in northern Uganda.

Children are being abducted and having their families murdered by the LRA, and then trained to kill innocent civilians. These children are brainwashed to murder and have been part of the ongoing war for years now.

Last year, Foothill alumni, Rachel Ashley, introduced the Invisible Children benefit as part of her hero project. Now, current seniors Emily Dixon and Karen Fox have taken it over as the club’s co-presidents and organized the benefit that took place on  Dec. 9 in Spirito Hall.

Following tradition, the 2003 documentary film, Invisible Children: Rough Cut was screened at the benefit to generate awareness of what life is like in Uganda and the horrors that face the people who live there, especially from the children’s point of view, as they are the ones most directly affected.

The film allowed many students to witness the horrible conditions in which orphaned children of the Acholi Tribe in Gulu, a city in northern Uganda, are faced to live with.

Senior Jongin Baek elaborated on the recurring theme of the movie that “Families are killed in front of them [the children] and they are forced to kill others for Joseph Kony’s army.”

Children who manage to escape from the LRA are left as orphans who suffer from psychological trauma and other disorders. They are also usually left with physical impairments such as amputation or blindness in addition to their battle scars.

The children live in fear of the rebels and sleep in the streets or in the crowded hospital with other members of the community to ensure safety. Jacob, one of the children starring in film said, “We fear at night.”

The touching story of the “invisible children” living in Africa in a war zone had significant impact on the small crowd that showed for the screening.

Foothill senior Anna Geare said, “It made me cry because it is so sad and not many people know about it.”

Geare was convinced to donate and join the club to continue to spread the word to the public.

Dixon’s ultimate goal for the program is to make people care about what goes on in Uganda. “They [Ugandans] don’t have what we have in America.”

If you are interested in joining, want to learn more, or want to donate to better the lives of children in Uganda, Invisible Children meets every Thursday after FIRE in Hunt’s room, D106.

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