Sep 21, 2010

Seeing the Unseen

by Crystal A. Heavner

 

Invisible Children Offers Students a Face-to-Face Encounter with Uganda

Students clad in various styles and colors of Invisible children T-shirts sat fixed in their seats, their eyes glued to a strong, young Ugandan named Grace.

Seats were packed at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 in DeMoss 1114 for Liberty’s screening of Invisible Children’s (IC) Face-to-Face tour.

The tour involves Ugandan students, who are recipients of the legacy scholarship, traveling across North America and telling their stories to encourage audiences and raise continued support.

 “The Face-to-Face Tour is the next stage of (a) dream to have Ugandans advocating for themselves,” according to IC’s website. 

The team consisted of Legacy recipient, Grace, her mentor, Marylyn and four American “roadies.” The team trained for three weeks in Uganda, spent two weeks in California and was on their first week of touring when they arrived at Liberty. The team will travel through Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

“I want this to be an eye-opener for those who don’t know about Africa’s longest running war, or a continued encouragement for those who have been backing IC for years now,” Event Coordinator and Public Relations personnel Lauren Edwards said.

The event began with a showing of a film on the difficult lives of child soldiers, child mothers and other victims of war in Uganda. It captured the pain that they face and the hope they can be offered. Many eyes in the audience were clouded with tears by the film’s end. 

Grace then came forward and shared her story. Pain, difficulties and premature responsibility muddled her young life. Her immediate family was torn by the war. When her older sister died, she was forced to drop out of school to tend to her sister’s three children, her own new baby and her ailing mother. 

In 2006, she applied for the Legacy Scholarship Program and become one of the first 100 recipients. She was given paper, pens, a mentor and money to attend Lacor Secondary School — Liberty’s partner school.

Grace became the first of her family to graduate high school and will now move on to a Ugandan university thanks to the Legacy Scholarship Program.

“Education is the most important tool to bring hope, happiness and peace. I’m getting to know peace because I have an education,” Grace said.

Grace wants to use her education to become a teacher.

“I’m giving myself a future, I’m giving my daughter a future, and I am giving so many children in Uganda a future,” Grace said.

Grace’s mentor, Marylyn, graduated from an Ugandan university five years ago and has poured hope into lives like Grace’s ever since. She challenged the students to make their lives meaningful by doing something meaningful.

“Young as you are, you have changed thousands of lives,” Marylyn said.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been pushed out of Uganda, but continues to haunt nearby regions of Africa. 

“It is only through education that Northern Uganda can sustain peace,” Grace said.

IC is attempting to make this possible through the Legacy Scholarship Program. They are rebuilding schools and academic programs and lifting financial barriers through scholarships. 

A child’s monthly tuition can be paid for with only $35 a month. To learn more about donating, contact Liberty’s IC chapter at invisiblechildrenlu@gmail.com.

Heavner is a news reporter. 


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