Posts Tagged ‘world refugee day’

My All For Charity store has just gotten even better at supporting Africa.  Our range has now gone EDUN LIVE – a great range of African farmed cotton and made tshirts. Information as below:

From EDUN LIVE, the Adam Organic t-shirt is super comfy and ultra soft. A straight-fit tee, its 100% Ecocert certified organic, ring-spun African cotton, combed for comfort (145g.) Tumble dry low. (Not pre-washed). Washes like a dream. Made in Uganda using sustainable manufacturing practices.

From EDUN LIVE, the Eve Organic t-shirt is ultra soft. A straight-fit tee, it’s 100% Ecocert certified organic, ring-spun African cotton, combed for comfort (145g.) Reinforced stitching. Tumble dry low. (Not pre-washed). Washes like a dream. Made in Uganda using sustainable manufacturing practices.

So feel great knowing that not only are the profits of the shirts going back to those in Uganda – (betty’s family and Invisible Children) but also the shirts themselves are sustaining those in Uganda!

So today is my son (reece’s) 9th Birthday so we are having a family dinner at my mums tonight, must remember to pack the laptop!!

So today, twittering away @freeuganda, the elections have started in Afghanistan and i really wonder how bad its going to get there. I don’t know much about there as i dedicate most of my research to Africa.

A report on Monitor.co.ug says that the Ugandan Government has blood on their hands. Well i totally agree! Reading into the history of the LRA war and President Museveni’s appointment, it is quite disturbing.

The Ugandan government failed to protect northern Ugandans when they needed it most. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is responsible for orchestrating genocide in Northern Uganda, where he has incarcerated nearly two million people in concentration camps, euphemistically known as “protected villages.” Read a report by the Govt. of Uganda, WHO, UNICEF and others (pdf version).

At the height of the crisis, (circa 2005), more than 1,000 people per week were dying from preventable diseases in these modern day concentration camps. More people have died from conditions in the camps themselves than at the hands of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) or government forces, and over 20,000 children have been abducted.

2. Crimes Against Humanity II

In 2005, Museveni’s government was found guilty by the International Court of Justice for committing grave war crimes in the DRC, including: the invasion and plundering of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and of fomenting ethnic cleansing. Uganda was ordered to pay the DRC $6-$10 billion.

3. Rampant Corruption

Under Museveni, Uganda is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Yet, donor countries including the US, keep donating money to the regime without holding Museveni accountable for corruption.

4. Lawlessness I

President Museveni has no respect for international laws. He came to power using child soldiers and continues to coerce children into joining his armed forces to sustain his regime (See China Keitetsi’s story).

5. Lawlessness II: Locally, President Museveni does not respect the rule of law: he used soldiers to invade the nation’s High Court twice to intimidate judges, has exhibited complete disrespect for human rights, and bribed Ugandan Parliamentarians to amend the constitution to remove presidential term limits. The removal of term limits places Museveni as a de facto life president. Museveni has also been involved in land grabbing without the consent of the owners.

6. Militarism

President Museveni is a militarist who has no interest in dialogue to solve political problems. In 1985 he scuttled the Nairobi Peace Agreement mediated by President Moi of Kenya. Numerous attempts at peaceful negotiation between the LRA and the Government of Uganda were disrupted by Museveni’s actions, namely: 1994 and 2004 peace negotiation mediated by Betty Bigombe, the 1988 negotiation mediated by Acholi elders, and a 2003 initiative mediated by the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative. To date, Museveni has not shown much commitment to the current Juba Peace talks mediated by South Sudan–recently spearheading the creation of the Arusha agreement with the DRC, which stipulates the removal of the LRA from the DRC within 90 days.

7. Rampant Human Rights Violations

Recently, Uganda’s ambassador to the UN blocked a report by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Louise Arbour, from being tabled in the UN’s General Assembly. Arbour has been vocal about human rights violations by the UPDF in the past. The report detailed extensive human rights violations by the Ugandan national army in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda. Read the report (pdf version).

In March, demonstrators protesting the sale of a portion of the Mabira rainforest, one of Uganda’s largest forests, were fired upon. Three people were killed in what began as a peaceful demonstration. Sign the Save Mabira petition.

As posted on Xpose Uganda Genocide

So a few weeks back i was talking to my aunt who had been a long time volunteer in a local organisation and she suggested that i should keep a journal of my experiences. Of how i felt by doing what i am doing, my emotions and above all the strength and drive that keeps me going.  So i decided to start and here is the first part.

June 2007 i started working at a new job. Within a few weeks of my starting there, my boss gave me a DVD called Invisible Children Rough Cut.  Not sure what i was watching, that night i eagerly popped the DVD on and what started as a light and airy documentary had me in tears and anguish by the end.  Rough Cut is one of the most powerful documentaries i have had the pleasure of watching. I like to call these Shockumentaries, as they really shock your body, mind and soul. One boy in particular was what drew me in, Jacob, The ex child soldier, you see i have a jacob, he is only 3 yrs old and if my jacob was stolen, how would i feel. Oh i cried, my heart ached for this Jacob, as a mother i wanted to scoop this child into my arms and give him the biggest hug i could ever give. it really broke my heart. there is no way i could picture this child as a soldier, the innocence and beauty in his face. how could this keep on happening?  I was 27, i had not heard of this LRA war that started in 1986 when i was just a meagre 6 yr old child. Why? Why did i not know? Why was our media not reporting on this? Why were millions of people in displacement camps and thousands of children being abducted and no one was reporting this on the news? WHY? all i could keep on saying is WHY?

During this time, i started to suffer with my own nightmare, a multi nodular goitre that had taken over my thyroid and was slowly choking me to death. During 07 and 08 i went through one of the most darkest periods of my life. To know your dying, you can feel it, you can feel you cant breathe, this goitre was literally choking me, to get the perspective, i could not swallow a whole panadol tablet as it was too big to go down my osophegous, that is how small and restricted it was. My voice was suffering as well, being crushed by the goitre, i was advised by my specialist that i would never sing high notes again and it could take a while for the voice box to repair, some days it was so difficult to talk as my voice was so harsh and scratchy i really felt like i would never get my voice back. Thankfully in November of 2008 i had surgery to remove my thyroid and the nasty goitre and since then have been classified a “hypothyroidism”. On medication for life and a few issues afterwards, but i was blessed to be alive, i could breathe again! It was then i knew that i had to dedicate my voice to those who were not heard, singing is out of the question after suffering something like that, but being an activist isnt, having passion and speaking with passion about something isnt. I spent the next 2 months recovering and enjoyed the Christmas with my family. How sad i felt when on Christmas day 2008 the LRA attacked at town in DR Congo and massacred approx 620 villagers and kidnapped approx 130+ children.  How? on Christmas day? i was left in tears, broken and lost at how one man could initiate the massacre on Christmas Day, a day we celebrate God and Family, this man took that away, this Joseph Kony. It was not over, but i wanted so badly to be a part of whatever it took to make it over. This was one mission i would not give up on, i look at my children and it pains me that another mother somewhere cannot look at her children, it pains me that another lily or jacob (my other son is reece which i highly doubt is a big name in africa) somewhere in the world do not have the luxuries that my children have, the luxury of good food and clothing, an education and above all a childhood. To support IC i have purchased their DVD’s, Bracelets, Tshirts, Scarves and more. I have donated my time and money to this cause as i believe in what they do, i have seen through their documentaries the difference they have made in the lives of those in Northern Uganda.

Emailing Invisible Children in Jan of 2009 i was advised that I.C were doing an Aussie Tour this year to hold a big worldwide event called “The Rescue”. Eagerly i awaited more information and in March i was able to get in contact with Katie Bradel and was asked to help out on the media relations team for the IC Sydney Event.  After getting connected and catching up with Katie Bradel, she asked me to come work with her and a group of people on a Media Relations team to help organise some media for The Rescue.  Eagerly i took on this role and headed into Newtown to meet Katie and the other volunteers who, like myself believe in the mission and movement IC has created.  We were pumped, by the end of the meeting i had met some fantastic ladies and we had put together some fantastic ideas.  I was ready to do this! Wow IC were finally down under and i was ready to use my voice to help the invisible children of Uganda.  I had never felt such pleasure such joy and such heartache at the same time. Being asked to do Radio Media i took on this mission with pride. I wanted to succeed, not for me, for the children of Uganda and of the LRA War. I was again so overwhelmed by the wonderful people i met, such selfless people to give their time and money to those who we have never met, those who are in a complete different country, i was in awe.

So i started emailing and faxing all the media i had been given in the lead up to the event…..10,000 emails later and around 400 faxes later i was pumped. I also  started researching Uganda, and came across some interesting facts that made me feel a whole range of emotions from anger to guilt, from empathy to sympathy, from love to hate i was so overwhelmed that one passionate documentary had moved so much inside me. Ive watched documentaries, ive read ugandan newspapers, ive read books, listened to speeches but yet sadly i have never been able to set foot in Uganda. Throughout the month before “The Rescue” i was abuzz with emotions, talking to everyone and anyone i knew about IC. Showing the documentaries, showing the bracelets, sending media clips to PM’s. This war had to have an end, and if they (the governments) would not do it, we would show them they have to do it, we will show them that we care about this situation and we want to see and end to the suffering.  How quick a month can go by because suddenly it was the eve of the event…which also happened to be my 29th birthday….whoops i totally forgot it was my birthday, no birthday dinner with family, no cake, i had been so caught up in the Rescue, id totally forgotten myself….oh well..i know what i wanted, all my presents had to be purchased on the invisible children website!  I went to bed that night and had never felt so refreshed when i awoke…today was the day we were going to help make history!

9am – 25th April, 2009 i headed out by train to Sydney from Blacktown.  With everyone meeting at Milsons Point station – i headed straight for “Fleet Steps” as i was sick and almost hospitalised the week leading up to the event i was told “no walking that far and no outside in the cold” by my doctor…are you kidding??? like i’m missing this for my health!!!   Compromise is a bitch…yet it had to be done….no marching….no camping….but i was going to the Event!

Arriving at the fleet steps a few volunteers had already arrived and were starting to set up.
Helping set up with people such as noelle and christina, colin and Katie Bradel and everyone else was like a dream come true….they aint “celebs” as such but in my life they are “hero’s”.  The best kind of hero’s ive ever seen.  So finally we set up and had some fantastic times trying to get banners to hang from garbage bins etc, and the “abducted” were arriving…..it was beginning. We were all feeling Pumped!

Sydney Event
Sydney Event

The night overall…was the best night id ever had.  I went to the Rescue on my own yet i wasn’t alone. With approx 1000 other IC supporters i felt myself becoming “a hero” as well.  To watch the youth of sydney so proudly sing “your the voice” with Damien from underbelly was truly amazing…the dancing, chanting and singing was undeniably great and made the event so much more than just a group of people sharing the same ideals and beliefs….it made us whole. We were Rescued By Damien Walshe-Howling and by Sky News Australia and ABC Radio as well as a few independant journalist who took up the media call. Being Anzac Day in Australia it was very hard to compete to get air time for our event, but ultimately we were rescued and received national air time to raise awareness for the cause so that was a great bonus!  The atomosphere was amazing, i just cannot express how in awe i was with everyone.

At around 10.30pm we started heading off to Hyde Park Barracks where we were to be camped out for the night.  This is where my night had to end.  I arrived, walking up with a group and hung around for a little while, purchasing my bag and rescue bracelets, chatting with new friends and IC enthusiasts and just enjoying the lovely mood that was set at the Sydney Rescue!  Time to go home…..11.30pm.

So off i went to St James Station to catch the train back to blacktown….home to sleep

Sunday 26th April: Sunrise gave a brief overview about the chanting coming from outside! Sydneysiders from the Rescue had marched to Sunrise Studio’s and parked themselves out the front of the Live Recording room window – Bring Joseph Kony to Justice was all you could see in the window….GOOD ON YA GUYS!!!!
Sky News Australia gave a 7 min interview with Christina and Colin from IC

Sydney
Sydney

For the next 3 days i was online watching the live feeds and i had the best time watching….the mission in the US was still going and they needed support….to see Oprah’s live show and the Bobby and IC there was exceptional – Thanks Oprah and Thanks to the dedicated “abducted” who camped out the front of Harpo to get the attention the movement deserves.

Today exactly one month after the event…its not over.  The movement is still going hard so so must i…..on June 9th i’ll be giving a speech to the local lions club about IC and what it has done for the people of Northern Uganda in hopes that they can in turn spread the message to other local lions clubs as well.

Invisible children in my life isn’t just a movement, its a way of life for me and my family.  We are honored to help, we are honored to say “i support invisible children” and we will be even more honored on the day we can finally say “we helped to end the LRA War in Uganda”

Invisible Children – Thank You for changing my life.

So this is the end of this journal entry, i will be updating my journal in new posts to get up to where we are now in August of 2009.

Thanks for reading My Invisible Children Journal.

Hi Everyone. I am seeking sponsors to help me do a Volunteer Trip to Uganda.
During my time in Uganda i will be visiting Displacement Camps in Northern Uganda as well as spending some volunteer time in the Invisible Children office in Gulu. Northern Uganda has been rocked by a raging war over the last 23 years by the Lords Resistance Army and peace is only now starting to return to Northern Uganda. These people have been in displacement camps since approx 1996 and require help, councelling, food and much more to re-start their lives in their old villages.  the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) is still currently committing atrocities in DR Congo, Southern Sudan and the Central African Republic. Latest Information at:  (“Invisible war victims” in the north require urgent attention – officials)

I am hoping to travel in 2010/2011
I am currently a volunteer for Invisible Children Australia and sponsor a child in Uganda as well. I am aiming to spend 6 weeks in Uganda doing volunteer work and expanding my knowledge on the area and affected persons so that i can continue to commit myself to the Invisible children cause as Company Secretary for IC AUS – All Australian positions are volunteer only and we are not employed by Invisible Children or receive any monetary goods or cash for our actions.
As a mother of 3 children myself i am currently unable to cover all the costs associated with getting the tickets and travel arrangements covered. I have been a volunteer my whole life with my parents through Lions Club International but have found my own calling in invisible children.
I will be documenting my journey through Uganda through video and pictures. I have created the website http://www.freeuganda.webs.com and currently run this as well as the twitter page @freeuganda and a blog https://invisiblechildrensupporter.wordpress.com
CLICK HERE to donate or to check out my donations page with Pledgie.com

Each sponsorship amount is greatly appreciated and i urge you all to join up to www.freeuganda.webs.com to check out what is going on in Uganda and the status of your sponsorship.

IMG_8817-copy ic2 IMG_0006_1

Pictures supplied by: Invisible Children and Photobucket

Video by: Invisible Children

With so much going on in Africa right now, we are trying to keep the news on our website updated each and every night.  Some times this of course cannot happen however i try to maintain it at least 2-3 times a week if not everyday.

Check it out

http://www.freeuganda.webs.com and click on NEWS for all the current information

Follow us on Blip FM http://blip.fm/freeuganda be your own DJ.

Follow us on Twitter @freeuganda to receive updates by tweet

Current News from Uganda as reported by New Vision News in Uganda.

Gulu – MAO confirms new rebel group – read the full report here

Gulu – MP Asks for Food Aid – Read the full report here

300 NAADS Chicks set ablaze in Thatched hut – read full report here

JIE Warriors kill 8 in Kaabong – Read full report here

10 Districts to miss recovery funds – read the full report here

OTHER NEWS and INFORMATION

Help support Discover The Journey’s Trip to Africa – Get the full details here

Ok so for all those IC Supporters out there, you know HOW IT ENDS was on last week 22nd and 23rd June 2009 in DC.   With guest speakers such as: The head of the International Criminal Court – Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Betty Bigombe, Jolly Okot, Government Representative’s from Uganda and many more people coming together to discuss ending the longest running war in Africa.  I was able to watch the live feeds online and the premier of the Rescue Documentary (from the events held worldwide) as well as hear the speech from Luis Moreno-Ocampo and much more that was going on Live at the Lobby Days.

Invisible Children pulled together a massive event at DC and deserve to be commended for what they have done over the last 6 years that has led them up to this point.  “HOW IT ENDS” is a culmination of all the work that IC have done. Integrating relationships with Resolve Uganda, Enough Project and IC, they created a force strong enough to grab the attention of senators throughout america.   U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) and U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Brad Miller (D-NC) and Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced legislation to help end the reign of terror conducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda and neighboring countries.  This bill calls

“…to apprehend or otherwise remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield, and to disarm and demobilize Lord’s Resistance Army fighters.”

The bill not only sets a plan for ending the war but outlines the need for reconstruction and rehabilitation of the war affected regions. It is our goal at Lobby Days to see that we put our support behind this bill.

Here is a quote from Senator Feingold as he introduced the bill to the president:

“Mr. President, today I am pleased to introduce the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, and I am pleased to do so with a great champion on this issue: Senator Sam Brownback.  For many years, we have both sought to bring attention to the terror orchestrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army, the LRA, and the suffering of the people of northern Uganda.  We have come a long way in just a few years, thanks especially to young Americans who have become increasingly aware of and outspoken about this horrific situation. Those efforts have yielded some success, but if we are now to finally see this conflict to its end, we need to commit to a proactive strategy to help end the threat posed by the LRA and support reconstruction, justice, and reconciliation in northern Uganda.  This bill seeks to do just that.” ~ Russ Feingold

To help support this cause, why not sign out petition to Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.  We are asking for him to support any and all acts passed by US Governments in relation to Uganda and The LRA Disarment.  CLICK HERE to be a part of historical change for the Ugandan’s

This is the HOW IT ENDS GOALS CHART

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We need YOUR SUPPORT to get this bill passed through congress! So come on and support the END OF THE LONGEST RUNNING WAR IN AFRICA.

why not spread the word with these cool items. 100% of profits are donated to specific Non Profit Organisations such as Invisible Children, Call and Response and Coalition to Stop the use of Child Soliders.

CLICK HERE to visit our website and join our mailing list.

Somalia – DADAAB, Kenya – “Is it too late?” a medic asked while pressing little Anfac’s bony chest. Fluid dribbled from the toddler’s mouth as the team worked frantically to save her. Tension filled the small room at Medecins Sans Frontieres'(MSF) only clinic in Kenya’s Dadaab camp – the world’s biggest refugee camp. Locals dub it the “Death Camp” for more information visit our news page

Northern Uganda:  GULU, 12 June 2009 (IRIN) – The Ugandan army says it has detained 11 people over alleged rebel activity in the north of the country. Uganda army and defence spokesman Maj Felix Kulayigye said the 11 were coordinators of a new rebel group. He said five had been arrested in Gulu and Pader districts of the Acholi sub-region, which was the epicentre of the conflict pitting government forces against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from the late 1980s well into this century, and that weapons and communications equipment had been unearthed in Pader. Ulayigye said six others were detained in Rhino camp in Masindi District, western Uganda, with guns and solar panels. The Gulu resident district commissioner, retired Col Walter Ochora,said those detained include former senior LRA fighters who had surrendered in 2007 and joined the regular army or who had been granted amnesty. Treason charge According to Kulayigye, the six held in Masindi would be charged with treason. “We have taken the files of those we arrested in Gulu and Pader to the director of public prosecution for advice. They are also preferably going to be charged with treason,” he said. Asked what the name of this new rebel group is, Kulayigye said: “They are still in initial stages. They are still proposing the name of their rebel group,” he said. “We are aware of some politicians in Gulu and those in the diaspora who are behind these new rebel activities in northern Uganda. They feel discredited by the LRA,” Kulayigye said.For more information visit our

GULU, 15 June 2009 (IRIN)- Lilly Atong, 26, was first abducted by Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)rebels from Amuru district in northern Uganda in 1991 when she was 10 years old. She was made a “wife” of the LRA leader Joseph Kony but escaped in 2005. However, during the Juba peace talks in 2006 she met Kony to persuade him to release other women and children, only to beheld captive again in Garamba National Park, where the rebels werehiding. She managed to escape a second time and is now living in a rehabilitation centre in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu. Visit our News Page for more information

Worldwide: June 20 is World Refugee Day – Visit The UN Refugee Website for more information about local and international events