Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An army of child soldiers

I've decided to take up the blog again for my June trip Northern Uganda. I started this blog a couple of years because I enjoyed writing and it was an outlet for that as well as a cathartic release of frustrations when I looked at the injustice around the world. I stopped due to a combination of people not writing/reading blogs anymore and the thought that it was a bit of a narcissistic hobby anyway. However, if this blog was ever useful it was probably on my trip to Israel and Palestine which, I hope, raised some awareness of brutal occupation there. Hopefully writing about our work in Northern Uganda will in a small way raise awareness of the brutal war there; it’s after effects and it's army of child soldiers.

I’ll be travelling with a colleague to Lira to work with former child soldiers and other young people who have been traumatised by the conflict. We will be building relationships and screening for PTSD or other disorders as well as looking at cultural methods of coping with trauma and fostering resilience. The hope is to come home, consider our findings and return next year and carry out an intervention programme. If this is successful we hope to train local people to deliver the programme and disseminate it to other schools with traumatised children.

I also hope to call in with our friends in Gulu and Jandira so if any of you have greetings or gifts get them to me this weekend!

What we will be commencing was only a dream this time last year as can be seen in the post below. It’s now happening and it has been amazing to see how experiences and relationships as a teacher, leading Emmanuel Africa teams, in Fields of Life and now in psychology have been woven together to allow this project happen.

To learn more about Lira, Joseph Kony, the LRA and Uganda’s child soldiers read here.

The war in Northern Uganda is over now but the LRA are still raping, pillaging and mutilating their way through the DRC.

[The pictures above are from our visit to IDP camps in Gulu last year]

POSTSCRIPT: After writing this the Dave Wylie Experience phoned me to tell me the news that has just broke....Obama had signed a bill outlining America's commitment to bring an end to Joseph Kony and his LRA. 20 years too late but interesting timing!!!