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The Invisible Children
Oppression is an understatement when considering the treatment of the children in Uganda. For over twenty years, these children have been in fear of being kidnapped or killed. Many who were kidnapped were forced to kill their parents as an initiation and kill other children to set examples. These atrocities went almost unnoticed until recently when a group, known as the invisible children, made their story heard. With the help of their documentary, programs and national events, the invisible children have helped save the children of Uganda.
How It All Started
Joseph Kony is one of the most notorious terrorists in the world. Joseph was first associated with an organization known as The Holy Spirit Movement. The Holy Spirit Movement was a Christian-based group that wanted the government of Uganda to become a theocracy based on Christianity. The group was led by Alice Auma. The group faded out due to insufficient military backing. As The Holy Spirit Movement fell apart, Joseph Kony formed a more dangerous group called The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). In its fight to bring a "Christian" theocracy to the country of Uganda, the LRA has demonstrated many unchristian-like characteristics. For instance, the LRA has taken over 20,000 kids from their homes since 1987. Many of the kidnapped children make up the military of the LRA. The pretty, young girls who are kidnapped are made into wives of the LRA's men. The children of Uganda had to hide out at night in order to escape the wrath of the LRA.
These children, who have seen disastrous conditions, are the reason the group, The Invisible Children was started. Three young men, in search of an interesting story, went to Africa. What they found was a story larger than they had ever expected. They found the children of Uganda and were shocked by their stories. Initially they showed the video to their friends and family, but as more people saw it, more people wanted to get involved. They have now made it their duty to make sure that people are aware of what is going on in Uganda.
The Documentary: Informing America
The first step they took toward informing America about the crisis in Uganda was making their documentary public. In their video, they captured graphic images that would make the viewer feel uncomfortable. In the documentary, one of the young men said that by making people feel uncomfortable, you are making them think about the cause of their discomfort. They recorded the stories of a few young boys who were hiding from the LRA. One of the young boys told about how is brother was killed by the LRA. The graphic images and tragic stories were enough to affect the emotions of anyone. Through this video, they made America well aware of the horrific conditions in Uganda.
In order to get more people involved, Invisible Children has helped set up screenings. During these screenings, people who are interested in helping spread the word show the documentary to their peers and colleagues. A list of all the screenings taking place is kept on Invisible Children's website. As many as twenty screenings are scheduled for each day, and that number only represents the screenings reported to the group. Some students have even started clubs at school by showing the documentary and then taking action. Through showing more people their documentary, Invisible Children is able to raise more money for the children in Uganda.
Programs for the Children
One of the programs Invisible Children created is the Bracelet Campaign. The Bracelet Campaign is a program that is beneficial to both the makers of the bracelets and the children of Uganda. The people responsible for making the bracelets are poverty stricken Ugandians chosen by Invisible Children. Invisible Children uses donations to pay these people for making the bracelets and then sells them in the United States. All of the profits made in the United States go back to the children of Uganda. Each person who is involved in making the bracelets produces sixty to eighty bracelets each year. Invisible Children also gives the producers a course called Savings and Investment Training Initiative, which is designed to help them avoid going back into poverty.
Another program Invisible Children has developed to benefit the children of Uganda is Schools for Schools. Invisible Children realized the school systems in Northern Uganda did not provide a good learning environment for the children to learn in. The Schools for Schools program was developed because Invisible Children wanted to help build a foundation for the future of Uganda and schools are the place where that is done. The program functions by having international schools sign up to help raise funds. This money then goes directly to schools in North Uganda. The first time the Schools for Schools project was completed, 582 schools participated, raising over 1.6 million dollars. The next time it was done, an additional 1.5 million dollars was raised. The third round of the project began in September and is still in progress.
The Visible Child Scholarship Program is another program developed by Invisible Children to help the children of Uganda. This program aligns chosen students with a mentor whom they meet with monthly. The mentor's main task is to ensure the child is learning and staying up with their course work. The mentors are put through extensive training before they are assigned their students. Each mentor works with approximately thirty students. The program has also sent four children to Universities in Uganda to pursue a bachelor's degree. The mentors continue working with these students as well as the ones completing secondary school.
Taking a Stand as a Nation
Invisible Children's first national event was the Global Night Commute. On April 26, 2006, over 80,000 people walked to their city centers in 126 cities and slept in the streets. The purpose of this event was to call immediate attention to the night commuting that thousands of Ugandian children did on a nightly basis. The event was highly successful and was a large reason why night commuting stopped in Uganda.
Invisible Children's more recent national event, Displace Me, gathered sixty-eight thousand people in fifteen cities. In April 2007, these people left their homes for one night to make a stand for those who have left their homes indefinitely to seek a safe place away from the war. Storytelling was used to make the people involved feel as if they were part of the tragedy. This event was recognized by the government and the media. In response to the event, The US State Department named Tim Shortly the Senior Advisor on the Conflict in Africa. His first task was to help bring peace in Uganda.
A Brighter Future
The work of Invisible Children has already made a huge impact on the people of Uganda. Because of Invisible Children, kids can stay with their families and not have to worry about commuting at night. Peace talks between Uganda and the LRA have increased and many believe an end to the war is in sight. Thanks to programs such as Schools for Schools and Visible Children Scholarships, children of Uganda are finally beginning to get the education that they need. It is unimaginable that all these great things came from three young men's desire to find a story in Africa.
Mechanically, only one correction; make sure you consistently refer to the group as "the Invisible Children" as this is the proper capitalization of this organizational proper noun.
Otherwise this is a technically clean, well organized, well planned piece. The content is thorough and organized, with clear-cut paragraphs and transitions. An exceptional piece! Great work.