Displacement: To be forced to flee from one’s home or homeland. Many people will never have to know the feeling of having to be displaced. Yet too many people go through the fear and terror of getting pushed out of their homes every day. As a matter of fact, according to the United Nations, more than 1.4 million people in Uganda alone have been forced out of their homes and into displacement camps.
Uganda has a slightly unique situation. In Uganda, for more than 20 years the Lord’s Resistance Army has been at war against the government. The 1.4 million people displaced in Uganda can credit their horrors in part to the LRA’s battle. The LRA has terrorized citizens of northern Uganda that they suspect sympathize with the government.
But this situation does not only affect the adults. The LRA also targets children, abducting the children from displacement camps, and training the males to be warriors and treating the females like sex slaves. Children are able to be kidnapped because security in the displacement camps is very weak. Parents tried to protect their children by sending them several miles away to the nearest town, where it would be safer for them to sleep. This is where the term “invisible children” comes from. This is what the Invisible Children Movement is all about.
Three college students who traveled to northern Uganda saw what was happening to the displaced families and decided to do something about it began the Invisible Children Movement. Initially, the students made a documentary about the children who had to flee from the camps in order to not get abducted.
Now the students have created a foundation to raise money and give monetary support to the families in hopes of helping. And so far they have. According to worldvision.org, the number of night commuters was, at its highest, at more than 25,000 people in 2002. The number has since dropped from 15,000 in May 2006 to less than 500 people in March 2007. These numbers mean that the students are actually making a difference, providing money that can go to help the families who don’t have food to eat and toward offering security for the families.
The Invisible Children Movement is actually helping families, and there is still a lot that each individual can do to be involved. Living in a well-off nation, we have an obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves, domestically or abroad. The LRA makes living in northern Uganda unbearable and anyone who has the capability to help should at least put forth a little bit of time to make an effort. Money isn’t the only thing that will solve the problems in Uganda. Peace through political movements is also necessary for any accomplishments to be permanent.
Some easy things that individuals can do include watching the Invisible Children documentary and spreading word of the situation to the local government and media. The more awareness that is brought about on the topic, the more pressure the government will feel to get involved and make a difference politically that an individual cannot do as easily.
Another thing that people can do is get involved with the Invisible Children events and try to raise money to send to Uganda. These events aim to raise awareness of what the children, and families, of Uganda go through.
One event, Displace Me, takes aims to bring attention to the war and tries to get legislators to notice what the event, and in turn the Invisible Children Movement, is about and take action to solve the problem Displace Me is a demonstration in which a group of people travel a long distance to a host city and spend the night in a mock displacement camp. It is meant to give people an idea of what it is like to be in one of the displacement camps and having to walk long ways to be safe.
While there are different levels of involvement an individual can take, it is important to try to help those who need it. The Invisible Children Movement needs everyone to help. Even if it is just spreading the word through conversation, more people need to be made aware of the situation for those who live in Uganda. There are many different ways to help, it’s just important to pick the way that works and do something. We can’t just sit back and watch other people suffer through terrible conditions. We’re all humans and we should all help when and where we can.