The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE students aim to help Ugandans

By Crystal Sulak/reporter

Two NE Campus speech instructors and their students are reaching out globally to help other students.

When three college students set out to make a documentary about children displaced by war, what they found and recorded spread to a growing nationwide awareness and hope.

Invisible Children focuses on the children of Northern Uganda and the problems they face with the people they call “the rebels.” The rebels are part of the Lord’s resistance army that has been raging a war for the past 20 years, terrorizing towns and killing innocent civilians.

The people of Northern Uganda, especially the children, live in fear of the rebels. This army marches through the towns, kidnaps children between the ages of 5 and 14 and forces them to join their army.

To avoid being abducted, these children walk miles to hide, and sleep in public places with other children.

Because of the violence they witnessed and the fear they saw in these children, the student filmmakers decided to start a project called Invisible Children.

The outpouring of support was overwhelming, so they then started a program, Schools for Schools, to help other students get involved.

This program partners schools in the United States with schools in Northern Uganda to help raise money for the children. Schools for Schools raises money to help shelter, school and provide the children with supplies for education.

Jamie Kerr and Debi Blankenship became involved with the program and have created a service-learning project called Speak Out.

Kerr said she was “so touched” by the documentary she knew she had to do something about the problem in Northern Uganda.

“ These children are terrorized, traumatized, brainwashed and witnesses to brutality so intense that they become desensitized to violence,” she said.

Speech students from their seven sections will work directly with the Invisible Children organization to educate TCC’s students and the community about the problems facing Northern Uganda. NE Campus has been paired with Pabbo Secondary School in Northern Uganda.

“ Our main goal is to get people talking about this problem,” Kerr said.

The students will raise money to provide the students of Pabbo Secondary School with drainable pit latrines.

“ The school is the only means of education for them, and with education comes awareness, and as a generation they can change,” she said.

The students from the seven sections hosted screenings of the documentary last week.

“ These students are not only becoming involved with the project, but learning culture, persuasion and group problem solving at the same time,” Blankenship said.

The students also held a “symbolic walk” Saturday, walking 5 miles to represent the children who are forced to walk so many miles to avoid being abducted, Blankenship said.

“ They want to walk with a mission,” she said.

Students and teachers involved with the project are wearing black banded bracelets in honor of the children and problems facing Northern Uganda.

“ It’s our sign of unity,” Blankenship said.

Kerr said, “We protest the suffering of these children, and we don’t want it to go on anymore.”

Kerr and Blankenship said they want to encourage students as well as the public to get involved with this project.

“ We hope teachers will offer this project as a means of extra credit to their classes,” Kerr said.

To get involved with the Speak Out project, call Kerr at 817-515-6247 or visit invisiblechildren.com.

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