Since 2003, Invisible Children has been working to end the horrendous war brought on by the Lord’s Resistance Army and better the lives of the child soldiers affected by it. On April 25, 2011 this wonderful organization is taking their efforts a step farther. April 25th marks the date of their newest campaign, ’25.’ With this campaign they are asking people across American to speak out for these children without speaking. For 25 hours they are asking participants to stop the silence of this war by being silent. With this campaign, Invisible Children hopes to raise funds for their new Protection Plan (click on this link to read the Plan in its entirety). This Protection Plan is the first strategy implemented to help prevent the Lord’s Resistance Army’s attacks and provide a holistic rehabilitation to the children abducted by the army.
In the past 25 years Joseph Koney and his LRA have abducted 30,000 children in Uganda and surrounding countries. Since as recently as 2008, around 2,300 children have been abducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone. Since that same time around 3,100 children have been killed by the LRA. When Invisible Children says that their new Protection Plan is holistic, they mean it. This plan covers everything. Watch the following video to learn more about this Protection Plan and the 25 Campaign:
In this Protection plan Invisible Children is going to train and educate locals about the LRA and the child soldiers, set up FM stations to broadcast testimonials, set up HF radio networks to track LRA progress, form rescue teams to pick up children that escape, and build rehabilitation centers for former child soldiers. As a former psychology major the last part of the Protection Plan, the rehabilitation center, caught my attention. These children that get abducted by the LRA to become child soldiers face trauma that no child should ever have to endure. Around 39% of abducted children are ordered to kill someone while they are in captivity; around 70% of these young children suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
The rehabilitation center that is going to be set up will be able to house and provide care for around 300 children each year. This center will provide psychological counseling, vocational skills, and reunification with their families and society.
In order to succeed in their goal to set up this Protection Plan, Invisible needs to raise $1,289,000, and that is the goal of the 25 campaign. Last I heard, participants in the 25 campaign have raised $384,000. That is a great amount, but there is still a lot needed. If you would like to help please visit my fundraising page to help end Africa’s longest running war: http://www.ic.stayclassy.org/member/ic-fundraising?fcid=4166
- Giving A Voice To Africa’s Child Soldiers (huffingtonpost.com)
- Invisible Children (socyberty.com)
- The plan to protect Africa’s child soldiers (one.org)