What is the money I raise for Invisible Children being used for?

Hummers, ipods, Gucci glasses, you name it. Seriously, this is a great question to ask. In reality, Laren and Bobby still live at their mom’s houses. “Invisible Children, Inc.” is not backed by any large corporation or production studio, and has always been made possible by individuals (like you!) who believe in this project, and have changed because of this story. Up to this point, donations raised were being used for finishing the film, mass-producing, and screening the “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” across the globe. Since the filmmakers return from their most recent trip to Uganda, they have been working to turn the “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” into a feature length film to be released nationwide in theatres December 2006. This film will tell the complete story, beginning to end, and garner the Northern Uganda crisis the international attention it deserves.  

The money donated is also going toward two programs IC has begun in Northern Uganda, and one big one in the United States.

A) “The Bracelet Campaign” –

20 years of war has ravaged the Northern Ugandan economy and the people have generally, become dependant on aid. “The Bracelet Campaign” is a micro-economic program intending to make a difference. This campaign will allow the people in Northern Uganda, who are otherwise unable to work, the opportunity to generate a much-needed income. In addition, it will raise awareness and generate revenue in the United States- which we will funnel back into the “Invisible Children Education Program” in Northern Uganda.

B) “Invisible Children Education Program” –

A pilot of our program has already begun, and kids are going to school because of your donation. We are prepared to sponsor 100,000 children from elementary through high school, by the year 2007. However, in order to accomplish this goal we need 100,000 of you. [for details on the program click on the  “Programs” button under the MISSION section of our website.]

 C) “ The National Tour: Suburban Safari” –

The remainder of the money is going towards advocacy and awareness in the rest of the world. “The National Tour: Suburban Safari” we are launching in Febuary of 2006 will involve screening the film at every high-school, college, and church in every major city. The tour is being used to advance the “Bracelet Campaign,” and the “Invisible Children Education Program.” Contact “Invisible Children” if you want us to stop in your hometown.

Can the filmmakers talk at MY screening?

Contact the office if you are holding a MAJOR screening and would like a filmmaker to be in attendance. If their schedules allow, you would need to facilitate travel and a place for them to lay their heads. Scheduling is very difficult at this point, as the filmmakers are now working on editing the feature length film. There is however, MANY credible IC staff that will gladly come in their place. Many of our staff have been with “Invisible Children” from the beginning, and have traveled to Uganda as a part of our team. We truly love to be in attendance of events, so we can support your efforts and answer any further questions.

What if I’m planning an event with up-front costs?

 If you are planning an event in which you have up-front costs:

(i.e. a concert where you have to pay for the venue) you must raise the up-front money. The best way to do this is to find people/companies willing to sponsor the event. That could be anyone from Aunt Helga to Bill Gates to Nike. Sponsors are able to provide the up-front cost, which means the money made will be just that, money made. Also, get things donated, create things from your garage, ask friends to volunteer, find sweet bargains… you can do it. Keep it Quality.

When you have passed the idea stage and the event is a reality please email us and let us know. We would love to support you however we can. Please tell us the date, time, location and brief description of the event. PLEASE take pictures/video and send them with the donations from the event!

Is your organization a Christian organization?
No. The three filmmakers believe in Christ, but do not want to segregate themselves in any way. They believe that this story is not theirs to own/brand. They strongly believe that every person needs to hear this story regardless of race, religion, gender, or culture. Invisible Children is about invisible children, and is not exclusive to people who believe what the filmmakers believe. It’s about the “orphans, the widows, the hungry, and the oppressed.” It’s about children that are born into a horrific situation, with no voice. For further insight, read anything Brian Mc Laren (no relation), or Donald Miller writes.

Who is making decisions over there at IC?

“Invisible Children” has an active board of directors made up of local businessmen and women who are passionately committed to growing and expanding the effect of Invisible Children both domestically and abroad. They meet on a bi-monthly basis and have the ultimate legal control over “Invisible Children.” The filmmakers of Invisible Children have creative authority over the film. Their vision is the driving force behind the movement of “Invisible Children”.

The staff at the IC office takes the vision and facilitates action. They are in charge of setting up screenings and events, organizing volunteers, budgeting/financial record keeping, communication with IC representatives in Africa and coordinating the international campaigns.

The volunteers of IC are the meat and potatoes of the organization. They are the ambassadors. They sustain the movement of “Invisible Children” by giving up their time, using their talents and raising the funds. They tell their friends, take the story to their schools or jobs and ultimately grow the grassroots movement into a worldwide agent for change.

[See our staff bios for more detailed descriptions.]

Has the situation improved since the original documentation 2 years ago?

Yes and No. The night commuters that “Invisible Children: Rough Cut “ focuses on still commute every night. Their numbers in each area fluctuate based on how active the L.R.A. rebels are. The children still fear abduction and endure the hardships of commuting from their homes in surrounding villages every night to the town for safety. Because of this, they have little to no interaction with their parents or parental figures.

The positive developments are that some organizations have now created more structured “centers” where children can come to receive shelter, sometimes blankets, and volunteer supervision. So, where they were sleeping in the streets, they now have roofs over their heads. A situation that is getting worse in Northern Uganda is the IDP Camps (Internally Displaced People). Due to the frequent atrocities committed by the L.R.A., the government forced all the people who were living in scattered and unprotected villages to move into camps.  This way, the UPDF (Ugandan Peoples Defense Force) could guard the camps from the Rebels more easily.

But, some tragic consequences developed. The camps have become grossly over packed, the sanitation conditions appalling, and the education system, currently available, is beyond poor. Most of the kids are not in school because their parents cannot generate income. In our opinion, and many others, this is the most horrific effect of this war. U.N. representative Jan Egeland has referred to it as “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today”. They live hut on top of hut, in what resembles internment camps, totally void of culture, and unable to work their land. In addition to the humanitarian problems, the camp “protection” from rebel attacks is mediocre at best. There are frequent abductions and atrocities by the LRA rebels within the camps, which the army has been unable to prevent.

Why has it proven so difficult to stop the LRA? How do they benefit from this war?

So, there are two neighboring wars. We’ve all heard of Sudan? Well, until quite recently, the Sudanese government supported the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army- in Northern Uganda) as payback for the Ugandan governments support of the Sudanese rebel’s SPLA (Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army). We know, a lot of abbreviations, stay with us.

With improved relations between the two governments and a peace agreement in Sudan, the rebel support has ceased. LRA leader Joseph Kony, (though lacking political objectives), still has a powerful hold over his followers (abducted captives), through religious ritual and fear. Some higher-ranking commanders have broken from him to engage in peace talks, but many fighters who’ve grown up in the LRA are hesitant to lay down arms because they fear reprisals from the community and are uncertain how they would make a living in mainstream society. “The Bush” is all they know. Civilian and government negotiators have worked hard to assure the rebels that they will be welcomed home.

The LRA is fighting, what a lot of people would consider a civil war, against a government that has committed atrocities against the Acholi, Teso, and Langi, which are all tribes that make up a majority of Northern Uganda. The confusion begins here because the LRA is committing atrocities against the same people they are claiming to be liberating. Hard to grasp, we know. We ask this too. What ARE they fighting for? Stay tuned for the final film (now in production), as the boys probe the simple, yet elusive answer to this question.

What is the U.S.’ relationship to the conflict and the Ugandan Government?

            The US government has been very supportive of democratic reforms under the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, as well as peace talks within and between Uganda and Sudan. The LRA was labeled a terrorist organization under the US Patriot Act; this gets complicated because these children in the LRA, now labeled “terrorists,” never wanted to fight in the first place. Many Ugandans critical of President Museveni have urged the west to more carefully examine their diplomatic relationships with the Ugandan.

The bipartisan Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act, S. 2264, sponsored by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) overwhelmingly passed both the Senate and House of Representatives On FEBRUARY 2, 2005. This bill, calls on the United States among other things to: Support efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in northern Uganda, Work with the Ugandan government and the international community to make available sufficient resources to meet the relief and development needs of northern Uganda and to assume greater responsibility for the protection of civilians and economic development in regions in Uganda affected by the conflict; To make clear the fact that the relationship between Sudan and the U.S. cannot improve unless it’s been proven that authorities of the Sudanese government are providing support to the Lord's Resistance Army; And, direct the Secretary of State to submit a report on the conflict in Uganda, including information on LRA supporters, activities of the LRA and Ugandan People's Defense Forces practices particularly toward civilians; and actions carried out by the United States, Uganda, or the international community to protect displaced civilians, especially women and children.

What is the Ugandan Government’s stance on the war in the north against the LRA?
Because Uganda has long suffered a north-south ethnic division, theories range from apathy to exploitation to conspiracy. Some believe that the government has paid far too little attention to the LRA because this war has affected mainly their own region and ethnic group (in Acholi-Land), and they pose no real threat to the capital or the government. However, many also believe that those in power have used the LRA insurgency as an excuse to solicit more international donor funding, which is then diverted into other projects and government pockets, never reaching those in need in the north. Though President Museveni initially refused to reason with the rebels through peace talks, starting in 2000 the Ugandan government has now offered amnesty and forgiveness to all those involved in armed conflict or political resistance against the government. It is quite amazing to behold. While it has been effective in ending other rebel movements, Kony has refused to take advantage of the amnesty. Though Acholi community leaders continue to advocate peaceful negotiation, the Ugandan government reverted to an armed strategy against the LRA after renewed attacks in 2002. Violence has since escalated, precipitating the night commuter phenomenon seen in the first film, “Invisible Children: Rough Cut.”

What is IC’s political stand?

“Invisible Children” is dedicated solely to exposing the atrocities that are affecting children around the world. We do not take a political stance, but instead use the power of media to bring to light to both sides of a tangled war, and the issues on the ground in a compelling way, allowing the viewer to decide.

What did the team of 20 who recently went to Uganda on behalf of IC accomplish?

The 20 individuals (including photographers, filmmakers, music/sports therapists, and a few inspired average Joes) volunteered with local and global NGO’s in order to become educated and passionate ambassadors of the “invisible children” in Northern Uganda.

The focus of the teams was to create short films of additional “invisible children”. They spent time with these children, to try a get a glimpse of who they are and what it is like growing up in this 20 year long war, in order to convey it to viewers like you in a relevant way. These short films will be the catalyst behind the bracelet campaign.

How much can I charge to show the film?

We want everyone in the world to have FREE access to see the “Invisible Children: Rough Cut.” Be creative and make your screening unique. The only thing we insist is that you DON’T charge for admission. We have articles, fliers, and frequently asked questions available for downloading under our “media kit”, so that you have all the information necessary to fully educate the viewers.

Can I get a Box of DVD’s shipped to me?
Once you have a concrete date, time and venue for an IC event, you can request that we ship DVD’s to you to make available for purchase. There will be a contract that we will mail/ fax you saying that you are responsible for returning the money donations from the DVD’s or the DVD’s themselves if you have any left over. Its kind of like those chocolate bars you used to sell in elementary school, in the end you have to give the chocolate or money back. We ask that a 20-dollar donation be made for each 2 disc DVD pack (we call it a “House Party Kit.”) But, if your friends are poor like us, or look like they are going to change the world, just give them a freebie, on us, with a promise of passing it on. Make it yours, make it fun, take some video or pictures, and send us some.

What can I do to help?

You can leave what’s comfortable, and use your talent to throw an IC event in your sphere of influence and watch yourself come alive. Live for something more. And have fun doing it.