Monday, July 14, 2008

Article from Gonzaga- Spokane WA

Sunday is a 15-year-old African boy living in a displacement camp. With both of his parents dead, Sunday must fend for himself in a camp full of people with virtually nothing. Sunday wants to be a doctor, yet he is sent home from school every day because he cannot afford a uniform.  Invisible Children told Sunday's story in a film screening in Cataldo on April 10. The goal of the screening was to raise awareness about the ongoing war in northern Uganda. Invisible Children volunteers asked students to get involved to help stop the war, mainly by writing letters to senators urging them to support peace in northern Uganda. 
Invisible Children came to Gonzaga during its spring tour, during which it travels the country to show the film and raise awareness. The film shown in Cataldo was not the original "Invisible Children: Rough Cut," but an updated version focusing on the story of Sunday as a supplement to the original film, which was shown Wednesday in Wolff Auditorium.

Josh Orr, a roadie for Invisible Children, decided to get involved with the program after seeing the film last year. For three weeks after seeing it, all Orr could do was talk about the film and show different people. Orr decided to apply to be a roadie on the "Schools for Schools" tour in fall 2007 and spring 2009. 
"I couldn't see those images on the screen and not get involved when I knew there was a way," Orr said when addressing the audience that filled Cataldo. "I couldn't give in to that kind of ignorance." 

After the screening, Orr discussed many ways for students to get involved and urged everyone to take the time to write a letter to a senator. In addition to asking senators to support peace, the letters were to ask senators to allocate $2.5 million to help the displaced return home.

"I learned the power of my own voice," Orr said. "We are closer to peace than we've ever been." 

Orr discussed other ways to help, including the Schools for Schools program and the Bracelet Campaign. The Schools for Schools program raises money for pre-existing schools in northern Uganda with the goal of providing them with funding for clean water, books, technology, teacher training and buildings. This year, people raised $1.7 million for the program. High school students raised most of the money through creative projects such as Guitar Hero tournaments and carwashes, Orr explained.

"Our generation has been stereotyped as selfish," Orr said. "We have seen the youth step up, recognize a problem and do something about it." 

The Bracelet Campaign provides jobs for adults in displacement camps, an otherwise unemployable war area. The handmade bracelets are paired with a short story about a child who has been affected by the war, such as Sunday, and sold, not only to provide a product but also to raise awareness. 

For more information about how to get involved, visit 

Orr emphasized the power of the individual to help. Rather than a few rich donors who keep the program running, 90 percent of donations for Invisible Children are $20 or less, Orr said.

"We are a bunch of smalls making something big."

Taken from

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