Campus News

Students fight back against a rebel leader

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Senior Shane McNeely and Freshman Chelsea Hanauer were just two among other members of IC that wore bandanas over their mouths for their cause. (Photo by Matt Schoettle)
It all started with Laren Poole, Jason Russell and Bobby Bailey of San Diego, California. In 2003 they traveled to Africa in Northern Uganda where they discovered “Joseph Kony’s Child Soldiers.” Kony is the leader of a rebel group from Northern Uganda. He and his army abduct children while they are sleeping and force them to join their army; 90 percent of his soldiers are children who were abducted. If they try to escape they are told they will be killed. Having heard and seen this tragedy take place, Poole, Russell and Bailey felt moved to take action. According to the Invisible Children webpage, after the three returned to the states they created a documentary called “Invisible Children: Rough Cut.” This film told the story of the children in Uganda and the trauma they experienced. They never imagined their family and friends would provide so much support. Millions of people who viewed the documentary were moved to action. The next logical step was the creation of Invisible Children, a non-profit organization designed to help people assist with the needs in Uganda. One of the programs developed that has received a powerful response is Shools for Schools. This program links schools around the world with schools in Northern Uganda. These institutions raise money over a certain period of time in competition against other schools to see who can raise the most money. Bethel is currently linked with Layibi schools in Uganda and the Invisible Children group at Bethel is setting high goals. “Four years ago our goal was to build a well for the school (Layibi) and we did it,” said senior Tony Wiltse, co-leader of Invisible Children. “The goal for this year is to raise $10,000 and it is very do able,” said senior Shane McNeeley, co- leader of Invisible Children. “If we don’t do it then we have failed.” The School for Schools program also promotes a book drive. Contributors collect books and sell them to Better World Books. Then Better World Books distributes the money to the schools in Uganda. This program is another branch of the competition for Schools for Schools which ends Dec. 17. During the past three years, Layibi has undergone various projects. “One of the coolest things is to see how the school has changed,” said Yon Moya, senior and leader of Invisible Children. According to McNeeley the school raised $163 in the first week of the competition. “There is a lot of fundraising still going on,” said Moya. According to Wiltse, a group from Bethel visited the University of Notre Dame game on Oct. 3 to raise money through the “Change for Change” program. Using this program, students create a awareness of the situation in Uganda and collect change to “make a change” in Uganda. Other events planned to raise money for the cause include a bake sale, the creation and selling of Invisible Children attire, and providing dance lessons to raise money. “If you want to get involved then participate in events,” said McNeely. “You can also help raise money, but the best thing you can do is help raise awareness for Invisible Children.”
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