Invisible Children: Uganda’s child soldiers

A former child soldier - Northern Uganda (photo: Richard Wainwright)
A former child soldier - Northern Uganda (photo: Richard Wainwright)

Yesterday was the first day of hot weather for many of us in the Northeast United States. Like everyone else in the city, I headed outside to take advantage of the sun (though I was the only person in my group truly happy about the temperature soaring above eighty degrees!).

We stumbled upon a well-organized and peaceful demonstration. Youth in their late teens and early twenties were asking for help, rescue, protection, and representation as “victims” of abduction. As it turns out, they were not seeking any assistance themselves – rather, they were speaking out on behalf of Uganda’s child soldiers. Further, they were asking passersby if they knew  of “anybody” who could help spread the word about the plight of these children. The young man we spoke with had just begun his 21st hour of demonstrating for children on the other side of the planet.

So, if you’ve got a platform, use it – right?:

In Uganda, children are regularly abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (or LRA) and forced to fight in a bloody civil war that has been raging since the 1980s.

Children in Gulu, Northern Uganda (source: Dateline)
Children in Gulu, Northern Uganda (source: Dateline)

Africa and other parts of the world have complicated and disastrous histories involving the abduction and use of children in war. It is estimated that some 10,000 + children have been forced to fight in Uganda, often placed at the front lines of individual battles.

What can you do?

1 – Learn more about child soldiers and how to help them by visiting the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. There, you can learn about the plight of child soldiers in various regions of the world – including, of course, Uganda.

2 – Once you’re informed, click here for ways to take action.

3 – Learn about survivors like Grace Akallo  , the war in Uganda, and the Invisible Children Movement here.

4 – Host an awareness-raising event in your community, on your campus, or at your local civic center. Click here to learn more.

5 – Stay tuned to this newsfeed for the latest, including ways you can help.

6 – Check out Amnesty International’s comprehensive guide to human rights concerns in Uganda.

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8 thoughts on “Invisible Children: Uganda’s child soldiers

  1. I read this a few weeks ago and I must say, I had to sit and think about this one. It is terribly sad that I recall hearing about this for the first time back when I was a child (I’m 25 now) Then forgetting about it just to have to hear about the state of Uganda and its child soldiers has not changed. I understand we cannot jump into the affairs of every single country’s internal conflicts. However, this to me sounds like child abuse and with that I feel we have a moral obligation to step in and do something about that. Shoot yourselves up all you like, please do, but keep the kids out of it.

  2. What the incisible child is doing in Uganda is good. But they dont follow up the children they pay> For example Prossy in KIU- western campuss has fallen into prostitution. Such people like Prossy more so a medical student should be discontinued from the scholarship scheme.

  3. It is a fact that children are abducted and children are forcibly enrolled into becoming soldiers. But the way their story has been and continue to be told is not helping.

    What I contest strongly is perceiving no part being played by the Ugandan government of Museveni or Western countries and their financial institutions in the process of enabling such situation to continue.

    People from the region know well that if there were democratic governments and not dictatorships, these situations of child soldiers won’t exist. But because the West is backing these undemocratic regimes for its regional interests, and uses propaganda to blame others for the crimes which are perpetrated, nothing changes.

    Please stop propaganda, and look at the root causes of the problem, then it will be solved.

  4. Well, I haven’t taken that position, and this blog is not propaganda. Feel free to post links that detail what you believe to be the source of the problem. The blog’s aim is to help.

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