‘Invisible Children’ to Be Program Topic at College
Imagine living in an environment of fear so gripping that you would flee home on a nightly basis for the relative security of an urban shelter. Such were the lives of Ugandan youth, “night commuters,” who, for years, swarmed from their parents’ homes after dark to avoid being snatched to serve as resistance soldiers or sex slaves.
On Tuesday evening, April 19, Dalton State College presents “Invisible Children,” a program on the tortured lives of the children of North Africa during the regime of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
“Invisible Children” will feature a screening of the 2003 documentary of the same name as well as Ugandan representatives sharing their experiences with night commuters and child soldiers, and efforts made to rebuild a nation ravaged by decades of fighting. It is estimated that Kony and his guerilla forces seized tens of thousands of children and displaced nearly two million individuals in Uganda, the Congo and Sudan since 1986.
The presentation begins with a screening of the short documentary of “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” which was created by a trio of young California filmmakers seeking an African adventure in 2003. What they ended up with is a film that exposes the tragic realities of Uganda’s infamous night commuters and child soldiers, according to Johnny Hyatt of Invisible Children, Inc.
Since the time the film was produced eight years ago, night commuting has ended for the children of northern Uganda, Hyatt said. An estimated 900,000 of the 1.8 million displaced have returned to their homes, but half still remain in refugee camps.
“While the majority desires to return home, the issues surrounding their return are complex,” Hyatt said. “Some have been displaced for more than decade, and their former way of life is all but gone. Access to clean water, economic opportunities, health centers, and education are a pressing concern for all, and even more so for the many who contemplate returning to resource-barren villages.”
He explained how Invisible Children, Inc. helps to restore order to the depleted African nation. “With the support we receive from our tours and young supporters, we are able to implement cutting edge programs on the ground in Uganda,” Hyatt says. “We focus on long-term development, working directly with individuals and institutions to best understand the needs of these war-affected areas. Through education and innovative economic opportunities, we partner with affected communities and strive to improve the quality of life for individuals living in conflict and post-conflict regions.
“All of our programming is a partnership between those of us at Invisible Children and those in the Ugandan community,” he added. “Our programs are carefully researched and developed initiatives that address the need for quality education, mentorships, the redevelopment of schools, resettlement from the camps, and financial stability.”
Tuesday’s program will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Goodroe Auditorium of Gignilliat Memorial Hall at Dalton State. It is sponsored by the Office of Student Life of Dalton State College; those wishing to know more can call 706-272-2595. Seating is available on a first come-first served basis.