What does Uganda really need?
Recently, Joseph Kony has been the subject of an unprecedented wave of attention following the Kony 2012 video released by Invisible Children. Despite a lot of bad press received by the video, we are really grateful to Invisible Children for bringing to light some of the atrocities committed by Kony in his years heading up the Lord’s Resistance Army.
It cannot be denied that over the last 30 years, under Kony’s leadership, the LRA has abducted thousands upon thousands of children from northern Uganda, intimidating, threatening and brainwashing them into becoming child soldiers. However, it is misleading to say that this remains a present threat in northern Uganda.
The risks of living in northern Uganda are many, from violent land wrangles, to armed cattle raiders, to abject poverty, but there does not seem to be any immediate threat of further terror and abduction by the LRA. This is not to say that the LRA is of no threat in the region, in fact in this year alone there have already been over 100 incidents reported involving the LRA in the nearby countries of Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Southern Sudan.
The greatest need that we are hearing from people on the ground in northern Uganda is not for the capture and arrest of Kony, but for ongoing support to help them recover their lives. There are an estimated 15,000 young people currently living in the former refugee camp of Patongo, many of whom are struggling to cope with trauma inflicted by the LRA. What they are asking for is not vengeance against Kony, nor even justice, but simply to be able to live their lives without fear.
It is for this reason that Jubilee Action is supporting these young people through trauma counselling and business and finance training. Through these interventions, we have seen many young people come to terms with the trauma they have suffered, and start rebuilding their lives using their new business skills to bring in a steady income. We want to take our support even further and are currently building a youth centre in order to be able to offer these young people the opportunity to continue their interrupted education, learn some vocational skills and simply have a place to go where they are accepted and welcomed.
Please join us in supporting former child soldiers