Over a hundred of us at Congregation Or Ami joined together last Wednesday evening to hear from a young man who spent eight years of his life running from a mad man. In order to avoid capture and conscription as a child soldier, Randy told us of walking four miles each evening and sleeping in abandoned warehouses with hundreds of other children trying to escape the same fate. He escaped capture and he survived.
Through the efforts of Invisible Children, a very unusual grass roots organization, Randy, and other children – both who were caught and those who were not – have been given a second chance. By Invisible Children’s beautifully creative efforts to bring this ongoing crisis to light in America, hundreds of children have become the benefactors of Invisible Children. They are being reintegrated into their families and schools. A new generation of leaders is being raised; hopefully it will be a generation that will prevent the likes of mad men – Joseph Kony, Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, and Cambodian genocide’s Pol Pot – from ever bringing genocide into the world again.
Or Ami congregants were inspired and moved to act. Scores of us ended the evening by providing ongoing educational scholarships and other needed support. And your children came through, as well:
Teen Josh Wolfson writes: I was very inspired by Invisible children, not just because of the horrible situation they are in, but because they made me realize how much I have. I live in a beautiful city like Calabasas, I go to a great temple, I get an excellent education, and I get all that handed to me because I was born into a great family. I was dealt a tremendous hand, yet these kids, they aren’t even given any of those cards. They grow up in situations that most adults could not even handle, and I feel like, if I can help with the issues in one of these talented kids lives, with just 35 dollars a month, than I will give up that much for as long as I can.
Teen Ian Sharon: During Temple Teen Night, we had the experience of witnessing the tragedy in northern Uganda. We watched a video about the war in northern Uganda, and how one man can tear a family apart. A man named Kony is forcing his men to kidnap children in the middle of the night and forcing those children to fight for his LRA army. If his child soldiers cry, he will hurt them or even kill them. If a child soldier escapes and is caught, he will be executed. Now, Kony and his men are capturing children in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic. The Invisible Children organization camps outside of the White House, and also lets communities like ours know about the horror and the terror of Kony’s actions. I even bought a bracelet and explained the horror to all of my friends, telling them to tell other people. I am helping the Invisible Children by letting my voice be heard, unlike the child soldiers in Northern Uganda.
Though Invisible Children has helped empower the people of Northern Uganda, the conscription of child soldiers is a plague, spreading to the Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic. There is still much to do and an enemy of children and people everywhere to defeat. For further information, contact Social Action ChairLaurie Tragen-Boykoff or visit the Invisible Children website.