Opinion: Shedding light on the invisible children

Amanda Look

The Invisible Children Foundation (ICF) was started in the spring of 2003 inadvertently with three filmmakers travelling to Africa searching for some kind of story.

What they found there was much more than they could have imagined; a disturbing scene where the boys and girls of Northern Uganda were being used as weapons against family and friends.

The ICF has been trying since then to get the United States involved in the war against Joseph Kony and his child army, which has been going on since 1987. Yet, not until recently, has it really made an impact on the United States. It is an “army” of children, starting as young as five years old, being trained as killers and used as weapons.

The children are taken in the middle of the night from their families and forced to fight against friends, family, and strangers alike, or suffer horrible kinds of torture at the hands of the older members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Last month, President Obama signed into law the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which basically states that the United States is committed to help bring about an end to the destruction and hurt that has come from the LRA for nearly two decades. The law reiterates that the United States is committed to strengthening the means to protect the civilians that are stuck in the aftermath of the LRA.

President Obama held a press release on May 24, 2010 to sign the actual bill into law and invited the three people who started this whole movement to be there. They have blogged about it and included President Obama’s actual speech on their Web site, which has been my direct link to the foundation.

Now, I know it may seem like I am droning on about this and just throwing around a lot of data, but I have kept myself involved with the efforts of the ICF by donating and educating others on the ongoing war in Northern Uganda, and it is something that I have become very passionate about.

I was first introduced to the foundation a year ago next month during a fashion show at my cosmetology school and have since been involved in the educating of others on the war. And what a better way to let people know then right here? The documentary that the three filmmakers made almost seven years ago has left such an impact on myself and the friends and family members that I have shown it to. The documentary is inspiring and heart wrenching; it calls for change, which is what this generation is eager and craving for. Change is possible. And with President Obama’s newly instituted law, it is within our grasp.

Amanda Look is a sophomore education major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].