Flashback: Students form club to help child soldiers in Africa

Students form club to help child soldiers in Africa

DAILY PRESS & ARGUS
March 21, 2011

Invisible Children representative Achiro Fionah, left, listens to Kensington Woods High School senior Kyra Gregor for the school's project on the Invisible Children program, which raises awareness of child soldiers exploited for the ongoing conflict in Northern Uganda. / SUBMITTED PHOTO

Invisible Children representative Achiro Fionah, left, listens to Kensington Woods High School senior Kyra Gregor for the school's project on the Invisible Children program, which raises awareness of child soldiers exploited for the ongoing conflict in Northern Uganda. / SUBMITTED PHOTO

Kensington Woods High School students spent three days in March working on a service-learning project designed around the Invisible Children program, which raises awareness of child soldiers in Northern Uganda.

The first day, students spent time doing some interactive learning about Africa and setting the context to explain the conflict in Uganda and surrounding areas. At the the end of the day, there were special stations developed by teachers, at which they taught relative to their area of expertise. Stations included contemporary art in Africa, where students learned about apartheid in South Africa and created a piece reacting to it; a session on learning Swahili; and contemporary issues going on in Africa including the conflicts in Libya, alternative energy and technology-related issues.

On the second day of the project at the Genoa Township school, there was a screening and discussion of the Invisible Children film, "Invisible Children: Rough Cut."

For the third day of the project, representatives from the Invisible Children program joined students for a screening of the program's new film, "Tony," which is about the life of a boy who was a night commuter in Uganda and has since begun working with Invisible Children.

The representatives included Achiro Fionah, a 22-year-old woman who grew up in the midst of the Ugandan conflict, and Invisible Children workers Andrea Ramsay, Shane McNeely and Alex Alberico.

After lunch, the students went back to their grade-level advisers and developed action plans to think about how the school was going to get involved in the program. Once the ideas were presented to the entire group, it was decided there was enough momentum from the project for students to start a club to focus on the issue of child soldiers.

Sophomores Keely Madson and Chris Talbot discuss artwork by contemporary artist Yinka Shonebare titled "Scramble for Africa." Students looked at issues in African history to put the Ugandan situation into context before viewing Invisible Children films. / SUBMITTED PHOTO

Sophomores Keely Madson and Chris Talbot discuss artwork by contemporary artist Yinka Shonebare titled "Scramble for Africa." Students looked at issues in African history to put the Ugandan situation into context before viewing Invisible Children films. / SUBMITTED PHOTO

The club's plans will focus around Invisible Children's 25 movement, in which people who sign up are asked to stay silent for 25 hours starting April 25, raise $25 and write two letters to their representatives in Congress to let them know that they support funding the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act that Invisible Children helped get passed last year. The number 25 represents the 25 years of war that the Lord's Resistance Army has created. All the money raised goes to support Invisible Children's protection plan, which funds radio towers in the Democratic Republic of Congo to notify communities where the LRA is and a rescue-and-rehabilitation program for child soldiers.

Kensington Woods is doing some larger-scale fundraising and awareness events to get more people aware of Invisible Children and its mission and the conflicts in Uganda and Congo.