The increasingly popular non-profit group Invisible Children brought their national Legacy Tour to Quinnipiac, bringing shock and awareness to a crowded Alumni Hall.
The event, sponsored by the Albert Schweitzer Institute, was one of the many stops on the New England section of the Legacy Tour. The tour focuses on donations to the Legacy Scholarship Program in Uganda, providing an education to many children who cannot afford it.
Behind the event was the QU Invisible Children Club, which expects to be chartered starting next semester.
“The point of putting on the event was to spread awareness about the cause, and generate some interest for the club,” said Megan De Vizio, sophomore and co-founder. “I think all the months of planning were worth it because we were able to share this opportunity with other QU students.”
During the presentation, a keynote address was delivered by Ofonyo Innocent, one of the main speakers for the Legacy Tour. As a child, Innocent was one of many “night commuters” in Northern Uganda, traveling for hours on end to find a place to sleep in safety. He described to the audience the pains of his youth, filled with abduction and loss of family.
“I thought all I needed by my side was my family,” Innocent said beneath a thick Ugandan accent. “Any issues like food were taken care of with them. But we were on our own. Finding a small amount of food was your lucky day.”
Innocent was one of thousands of Ugandan children faced with similar problems every day. This has been a direct result of what has been defined as Africa’s longest running war, lasting more than 20 years and spanning five countries. The conflict has received very little world recognition until the last decade, leading to the creation of Invisible Children clubs and events across the country.
“I think this event brought some real awareness to students because a real life ‘invisible child’ was there, not just people talking about it,” said Jamie Hill, co-founder of the QU Invisible Children Club. “Innocent was so moving, and his story is so inspiring.”
Along with Innocent’s address, the 2003 documentary “Rough Cut: Invisible Children” was shown. The film followed the three filmmakers Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole in search of a story to report in Africa. During their efforts, they stumbled upon thousands of children in need of help, homes, and education. The film went into detail about the everyday lives of the children, as well as the horrific acts that few know about.
“It was eye-opening and showed a perspective we don’t normally see,” said junior Valencia Constant. “To think of a 5-year-old holding a semi-automatic weapon isn’t what someone wants to think about.”
After the event, a meet-and-greet with Innocent and other team members took place. Invisible Children merchandise was on sale, as well as the Legacy Scholarship Fund. Donating $35 a month puts a single child through one month of studying and mentoring, provided by the program in Uganda. But donating is only half the battle.
“Nothing will get done unless we come together,” said Nate Henn, a team leader on the Legacy Tour. “Our generation is bringing a light onto issues like this.”
Through events like the Legacy Tour and other functions, the QU Invisible Children Club and the Invisible Children organization as a whole hope to continue spreading awareness of the harsh reality of Northern Ugandan life.