Invisible Children to Make Third Stop at Bethany College for Congo Tour

BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College will host Invisible Children — an organization founded to help better the lives of war-affected children in Africa — for the third time on April 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Commencement Hall. The event is part of the group’s current Congo Tour and is free and open to the public.

Invisible Children’s upcoming visit was prompted by the success of their first two trips to Bethany in April and September, 2010, as part of their Legacy and Face-to-Face Tours. Approximately 400 students attended each of the presentations. The College also participated in the Invisible Children Better World Books book drive and earned the 44th spot for level of participation out of 102 schools nationwide.

The Congo Tour allows audience members to hear directly from those who have dedicated their lives to work for peace, justice and hope for the people of northern Uganda. Presenters across the United States include night commuters, child mothers, displaced persons and orphans by war — all advocating for themselves as they seek to rebuild education for a region recovering from more than 20 years of war.
 
In addition to a Ugandan speaker who will join the team, Bethany’s April 20 presenters will include several Invisible Children volunteers who have dedicated themselves to ending the war in central Africa: Lauren Grace, who recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in French; Chris Mulvany of Colorado; and Emily Jensen, a graduate of Utah State University.
 
Invisible Children was born after three young filmmakers from California traveled to Africa in the spring of 2003. There, they found themselves confronted with the tragic results of a decades-long war on the children of northern Uganda — children abducted from their homes by rebel soldiers and forced to fight as child soldiers. The young men watched as, in an attempt to avoid being kidnapped, the children traveled nightly to the center of their cities to sleep. Inspired to make a difference, they created the documentary "Invisible Children: Rough Cut," a film based on what they had discovered.
 
The response to their work was overwhelming as viewers sought ways to help. The nonprofit Invisible Children, Inc. was created as a means for others to take action and work to provide health, safety and education for thousands of children.
 
Since then, the group has created several documentaries and changed the lives of millions of people, including those living in northern Uganda and individuals who now know the horrific reality faced by so many children whose stories once seemed invisible to the world.
 
According to an Invisible Children fact sheet, since 1986 in northern Uganda more than 100,000 innocent civilians have been killed, more than 30,000 children have been abducted, and at the height of displacement 1.8 million were displaced. Also according to Invisible Children, in 2006 the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) expanded their activities to include those in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR) and southern Sudan. Since 2008, the LRA has displaced hundreds of thousands of individuals in those areas and has affected 2,800 civilian deaths in the DRC and hundreds more in southern Sudan and the CAR.
 
Invisible Children is working to provide radio towers, rescue teams and rehabilitation (for child soldiers when they return home) in those areas. 
 
The April 20 event will be broadcast live by the Bethany Broadcasting Network via video and radio. The public can access the presentation by visiting the Bethany College web site at www.bethanywv.edu and clicking on the Bethany Broadcasting Network “Online” graphic on the right side of the page. 
 
For more information on the group, visit www.invisiblechildren.com. Representatives will be selling merchandise at the event (no purchase is required), which can be previewed at the web site. For more information on the Bethany presentation, contact Heather Taylor at htaylor@bethanywv.edu or 304.829.7408 or visit the McCann Writing Center Facebook page. 
 
Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.