The Invisible Children movement is based on a shocking documentary film produced by three young Americans from California in Spring 2003. Their film, “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” documents a war in Northern Uganda in which children are abducted by a rebel army and forced to fight as child soldiers. For fear of being hunted by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), these children commute on foot every night to find safe places to sleep in their town centers. To date, more than 30,000 children have been abducted and forced into war.
For more information about the movement, see the Invisible Children website. Invisible Children Inc., established in 2004 after release of the film, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial resources to invisible children by documenting their true, untold stories in a creative and relevant way, resulting in positive change.
CESR hosted a campus-wide screening of “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” on October 23, 2007, which was attended by an estimated 225 students. Afterwards, about 60 students participated in advocacy efforts by writing a letter(s) to their elected officials. CESR also distributed educational material including the history of the conflict, frequently asked questions, and ways to get involved. If you missed the screening, you can download this packet as a PDF file.
As a result of this successful screening, Invisible Children selected Tuscaloosa as one of the sites for their spring National Tour. Four representatives from the organization visited UA in January for three full days of activities, including a Dance-A-Thon, Meet-and-Greet discussion session, additional screening, and a candlelight vigil.
After the January events, the student planning group coordinated an art exhibit entitled “Drawing on the Past, Picturing the Future: Depictions of a ‘typical’ childhood, Alabama vs. Uganda.” The exhibit juxtaposed crayon drawings of children from the Acholi tribe in Uganda with artwork from local children, both reflecting on the topic of “My Life”.
Several UA students have used this project as a way to form and advance the cause of a new student organization, Apwonjo, whose mission is to educate the campus and encourage advocacy related to issues of concern in eastern Africa.