Invisible Children brings Face-to-Face event to Geneseo campus

On Tuesday Oct. 5, Geneseo hosted Invisible Children's Face-to-Face program; the organization invited two touring speakers, Sunday Douglas and Komakech Lawrence, to discuss the struggles of war-torn Uganda.

The goal of Invisible Children is to stop the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony's war. By using media to rally support, Invisible Children promotes peace and education in northern Uganda.

The event began with a presentation of the short film Go, which illustrates the state of Uganda especially with regard to education. The film followed a group of American students in Uganda and introduced young war victims who explained their situation and the obstacles they face.

The film focused on the "Schools for Schools" initiative, a program in which American schools raise money to sponsor a partner school in Uganda. Both Douglas and Lawrence said they have benefited enormously from the Schools for Schools program.

At age six, Douglas became one of many night commuters, children who flee into the Ugandan jungle every night to avoid being captured by rebel soldiers.

"For me, I thought home was a place where I should stay during the day time, but we'd sleep in the bush," Douglas said. "I thought it was a part of life."

According to the presentation, night commuting in northern Uganda has since ended and in the last two years, about 900,000 of the 1.8 million forced into displacement camps have returned home, though many villages still lack basic resources.

Douglas has since been able to finish his secondary education and has gained admission to a university, though he's taking his tour of America first.

"I wanted to come here and share with you people how our life was in northern Uganda before joining Invisible Children," Douglas said.

Lawrence was only four years old when the war began. Since finishing his own education, he has obtained work with Invisible Children as a mentor.

Primary education in Uganda is free, but many struggling to support themselves lack the funds to attend secondary school at $35 per month.

"We are here to ask for your support and to show how each one of us can be involved," Lawrence said.

There are a number of ways to support Invisible Children and its goals. Besides donating to the numerous scholarship programs, individuals can help by purchasing merchandise that supports the people of Uganda. The Geneseo chapter of Invisible Children meets every Wednesday from 8 - 9 p.m. in College Union Room 323.