Deep in a civil war, a rebel group resorts to using child soldiers to fight their wars. Abducted and forced to murder their own families, these young men and women have no choice but to fight for a cause that is not their own.
In an attempt to raise awareness, three American filmmakers established a non-profit organization called Invisible Children. At noon on Oct. 14, team members from the movement will screen a documentary in Vermeer Dining Room about the humanitarian crisis.
Since 1987, a rebel war has been waged in Uganda by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which seeks to overthrow the country’s government. To power their rebellion, the LRA kidnaps children and forcibly recruits them as soldiers.
“The rebel troops force kids to kill their families. Then, they get them tripped up on drugs and alcohol, and they indoctrinate them. They use really bad tactics like that,” said junior Jenni Kahanic, who leads NW’s social advocacy group, Justice Matters.
Invisible Children aims to end the conflict in Uganda and cease the abduction of children for use as soldiers. The organization spreads awareness by filming documentaries about war-affected children in Africa and showing them around the world.
Last year, Invisible Children made its first visit to NW. It was then that Kahanic learned about the child soldier crisis.
“What to do with the information was confusing. It seemed like a whole world away, but when I saw the film, it was so powerful,” Kahanic said. “A lot of students had my same reaction. There’s pain when you watch that, but at the same time a lot of people were inspired.”
This year, Justice Matters was eager to invite Invisible Children to return. Kahanic contacted the organization online.
“We wanted to bring it back because it really resonates with students,” Kahanic said.
Invisible Children’s documentary screening will be accompanied by presentations from team members, as well as a speaker from Uganda.
Kahanic encourages students to educate themselves on social justice issue advocacy because of the impact it has has made on her faith.
“Sometimes it’s easy to believe in a small God, and we look at issues like there’s nothing we can do,” she said. “But when you see people triumphing over them, we see that our God is big. We have living proof of a very real, very big and very good God.”
Justice Matters is a student organization that aims to inspire social advocacy by raising awareness on campus of injustices around the world. The group holds weekly meetings on Sunday evenings and is advised by Seth Currier, director of service learning.