Seeing the invisible, ex-child soldier speaks to inspire

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So many children are disappearing at such young ages in Uganda that the youth has ceased to exist. Their generation is known as the Invisible Children.

UNF Invisible Children Club and the Volunteer Center will show a film about the ongoing 23-year battle in the Congo in Africa that is wreaking havoc across the continent.

A rebel group called The Lords Resistance Army fuels the way, said Jane Han, the founder of the UNF Invisible Childrens Club and a UNF biology junior. The group travels around destroying villages, gathering weapons, raping women and stealing children, she said.

The rebels give drugs to the kids that make them easily susceptible to brainwashing, said Marianne Mckey, vice president of the Invisible Children club and UNF English junior. She said the group forces some to kill their family members as initiation into the army.

Akello Monica, a former child soldier, is coming to UNF to speak about her tragedy-stricken childhood.

“It’s one thing to hear the statistics,” McKey said. “But it’s another thing to hear someone say, ‘I’ve survived this. This is my life. This is who I turned out to be, and it would mean a lot to me if you help me.’  It will give a sense of hope to a sad and disturbing event in our history.”

The club was created two years ago to raise awareness about the relentless and brutal battle. They adopted the Awere Secondary School in Uganda as a place to send help directly.

Han said the money the club raises helps teachers, volunteers and students at the school, and contributes to construction and classroom supplies.

“The money is for their education,” she said.

Last year the club raised over $1,500 between their main event, a benefit concert held each spring, T-shirt and bake sales, and other small-scale events.

McKey said Halogen, a television network, has agreed to match up to $1,000 of the club’s donations if UNF is one of the first 100 schools to do so.

The discussion will allow students to see and hear first-hand what these children really deal with.

“It will be the most unique and personable experience that they could ever get short of going to Uganda,” McKey said.
This event takes place Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Donations are welcomed. It will be held in Building 39, room 1009.