Invisible Children screens documentary on campus
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 02:09
A group of volunteers from Invisible Children came to visited USF Thursday to show their documentary “Rescue,” and provide information about their organization.
“Rescue,” filmed in 2009, is a documentary showing the conflict in Northern Uganda that has been going on for more than 20 years. The documentary focuses on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an army of child soldiers who have been abducted and force to fight under the leadership of Joseph Kony.
Kony became a well-known figure after the release of Invisible Children’s documentary “Kony 2012,” which went viral on YouTube last spring.
After the film was shown, a speaker from the organization shared her story with students.
The speaker, who introduced herself as “Peace,” grew up in Northern Uganda but was moved to the southern part of the country by her parents in fear of the conflict affecting their family. Peace completed her high school education there, but returned to northern Uganda for college, where she studied for three years.
Peace said classes would typically take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., because abductions by the LRA would begin as early as 2:30 in the afternoon. Peace became a teacher in her hometown in Northern Uganda, where she was determined to make a difference.
“We shouldn’t just study history, we should make history,” she said.
At the end of the presentation, Kevo Rivera, head volunteer of the group that visited USF who has supported Invisible Children since 2006, urged students to go online and speak to government officials about the conflict and to encourage them to take action to assist Invisible Children’s movement toward stopping Kony and rescuing the child soldiers.
“We hope that people continue to realize that Joseph Kony is out there, a lot of the world found out about him in March and since then I don’t feel like there has been a lot of attention, and I want people to understand that he is still out there and so is Invisible Children, and we’re trying to bring him to justice,” he said.
Stephanie Pradere, international studies major at USF, came to the presentation to learn more about Invisible Children and to hear from the guest speaker, Peace, speak on her experiences in Uganda. Pradere has been a part of Invisible Children’s movements for three and a half years, having attended rallies and screenings.
“I think it’s a really good organization because they ask you to get involved, they ask you to advocate for the children, they ask you to talk to your representatives and it not only lets you help out the organization, but it also makes you feel like you are really making a difference,” said Pradere.
Students were also encouraged to participate in “Move DC”, Invisible Children’s next rally in Washington D.C. to help the organization get global attention and awareness. The rally is scheduled to take place on Nov. 17, 2012.
Students who attended the presentation are given a pamphlet that breaks down Invisible Children’s financials, which has received controversy from others in recent months.
When asked about the scrutiny that Invisible Children has received about where their money is going, Rivera said “So much of what we do is wanting to get people mobilized and advocating, and so we do invest into those programs, and us being here does take some resources. We call it mobilization, and we believe in it as a powerful model to make this story personal to people and getting them involved face-to-face.”
In the 2011 fiscal year, Invisible Children put 15.8 percent of their money toward their media, 3.2 percent toward fundraising, 16.2 percent toward general and administrative costs and 27.6 percent toward mobilization, which consists of advocacy, international events, campaigns and film and music tours. 7.2 percent went toward protection, such as a radio network, detection fliers, and FM radios on the ground in Uganda, and the remaining 30 percent went toward recovery programs such as a rehab center, schools and scholarships for rescued children.