SPECIAL FEATURE CHILD SOLDIERS
One of the World's Most Neglected Humanitarian Crises
What if a band of armed gangsters forced their way into your house, beat and bound you, and then dragged your screaming children off with them? What if they taught your 8 year-old son how to maim and kill people and traumatized him to the point where he didn't know how to do anything else - to the point where he would even kill his own family members? What if they gang-raped your 10-year old daughter and then forced her to serve them as a sex slave?
We don't even want to think about this kind of evil. We don't want to believe in its reality. We want to look away and read something else. It's a very human reaction.
And yet, while the world has been looking away:
More than 30,000 Ugandan children have been forcibly abducted from their homes and subjected to these unspeakable atrocities and worse.
Another 1.7 million people have been displaced from their homes and are now crowded into squalid camps.
As many as 1,000 people die in the refugee camps every week from disease and violence - over 40% of them small children under the age of five.
The UN calls it one of the world's most neglected humanitarian crises.
The perpetrators of this evil are members of the so-called "Lord's Resistance Army" (LRA), a ruthless band of guerrilla's who have been terrorizing northern Uganda since the late 1980s. Their leader, Joseph Kony, fuels and sustains his army with "child soldiers", abducting them from their homes and more recently via violent raids on the displacement camps. It's estimated that some 80% of the LRA is now made up of child soldiers.
So What Can We Do?
Edmund Burke famously observed that "the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to sit back and do nothing". So if we want to sit up and do something instead of nothing, what can we do? The following simple steps will help you make a difference:
Get informed and stay informed about what is happening.
Let your Congressman or Member Of Parliament know that you are concerned. This really does make a difference, and the Internet makes it easy to do. Go to: http://www.house.gov/writerep/.
Invest in groups who are making a difference on the ground, where your resources will have the greatest impact in victims' lives.
Children's Hunger Relief Fund (CHRF) has been active in Uganda for over a decade. We partner with several Ugandan organizations who are laying their lives on the line every day for the children and families they serve. People like Edward Kaggwa , who runs a school and feeding program for some 500 children in the Luweero Jungle, on the southern perimeter of the LRA terror zone. Like Jay and Vicki Dangers and his 50-strong staff at New Hope who care for some 350 children in the heart of the Luweero Triangle, even closer to the war zone. And like John Obokech , who cares for hundreds of AIDS orphans and other street children through his Charis Center projects in Kampala and surrounding districts.
For $0.15, you can provide a meal to a hungry child.
For $55, you can feed a child for 6 months (2 meals/day).
For $110, you can feed a child for a year.
New Hope for Uganda 's Children
Field Report from CHRF Board Director
There are over 2 million orphans in Uganda . The majority of these children have lost their parents to AIDS, and many are themselves sick. Others are victims of war and violence. Tens of thousands of these children have been left to fend for themselves in the bush or on the streets. Unless they receive help, they will become just another statistic in a country that has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. New Hope 's Children Centre was established to help children such as these. Located deep in the Luweero Triangle, in the midst of the LRA terror zone, New Hope provides a safe refuge to some 120 children who live on site and another 200+ who receive education, food, clothing and love within New Hope 's walls.
The boarding students are divided into families, each living in their own "village" with their "father" and "mother" - Ugandan staff members who become parents to the orphaned children. The site also includes a clinic, Hope House (a home for abandoned babies and special needs children), Esuubi Eppya Primary Vocational School, New Hope Academy (a secondary school), Kasana Community Church, New Hope Institute for Childcare and Family, and New Hope Vocational Institute (which provides vocational training to young men and women to equip them for productive futures). I always come away from New Hope marveling at what these people are accomplishing. If these children are the future - and I know that they are-then there is hope for Uganda. And for us all.
It costs approximately $50 a month to provide full care (food, clothing, housing, medical, education) for a child at New Hope . Care costs for special needs children run approximately $80 a month to provide for the extra medical and staff attention.
Vest say's "Well what are you waiting for, you tight wads. Remember the more of your Food Dollar you give to any group of under privileged children, the thinner and healthier you will become yourselves. Give generously, and feel good about yourself by doing so.
Saturday, 14 April 2007
LOSE WEIGHT. Trim Your own FAT by Spending less on your bloated body. Contribute to a HUMANITARIAN CAUSE
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Vest Has Left the Building
To advise that Vest (Les Bowyer) passed away this morning. Regards, Chris (Son).
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Although we cannot compare those who reside in Great Britain with those on the African continent, relative comparisons between those who have and those living on a less grander scale in Britain are widening.
The number of children in the UK living in relative poverty increased by 100,000 last year -- a moral disgrace which leaves The Pommy Govt's policy objectives "in tatters".
Save the children are calling for urgent action to get the policy back on track, urgent action and investment is needed, not just the piecemeal measures that have been announced so far.
how did you find out about new hope? i grew up there!
Sorry, just to correct you there when you say
"Located deep in the Luweero Triangle, in the midst of the LRA terror zone"
In reference to New Hope Uganda, the centre actually isn't where the LRA operate, but much further south. Back in the 80s when New Hope started, the area was just recovering from being the killing fields of Uganda (the infamous Luwero Triangle), but now the Luwero Triangle is in the safe half of Uganda. However, New Hope is starting a new children's centre to help rescued child soldiers from the LRA in a region much closer to the danger. Their website www.newhopeuganda.com has more details if you're interested.
hope that clears things up a bit.
Anon asked, How did you find out about new hope?
Mostly by reading about it and discussions with other interested parties. My only minor involvement is the intent to bring these matters to interested people who have the vision and more still the the access to funding (not loans)And with the capabilities to achieve these goals.
Thanks for calling. Vest.
I stand corrected, and thank you for the further info.
Please call again, Vest.
Focus on Street Life.
THE first national enquiry into youth homelessness in 20 years will hear evidence in Sydney Australia tomorrow.
There are about 33,000 homeless young Australians, with 9,000 in NSW.
Sadly, we haven't made enough inroads into addressing the root causes of homelessness in our society. Hearings will be held at the Citigate Sebel in Sydney Australia tomorrow Mon 16 and Tues 17 April.
Interested parties will be bring a well stuffed wallet or a non rubber cheque (bank check). "Be there"
It saddens and disgusts me that this is how children are growing up and thinking that it is normal. $100 of our monthly income goes to a 'children' based charity. We pick a new charity every month. We don't notice $25 missing, and I am sure that if we did we could start skipping drinks on a Saturday night or a $4.80 cup of coffee when I go to work.
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