The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Telling the stories of war

The ongoing unrest in Uganda will be the topic of discussion in Schofield tonight. The Invisible Children (IC) of UW-Eau Claire, partnered with Human Trafficking Abolitionist, will host Stories of War, in an event dedicated to bringing awareness to child trafficking and the civil war in the eastern side of Africa.

“I’m hoping for a big turnout,” said senior Nicole Lancette, who’s been involved with IC at Eau Claire since 2008. “Since I started (with IC), the word about the conflict has definitely been getting out.”

As part of the organization’s Face-to-Face tour, the night will begin with a showing of “The Rescue,” a film that highlights the Ugandan rebel army – known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) – that’s currently led by Joseph Kony.

Following the film will be a discussion session with Asimwe Proscovia, a nineteen-year-old Ugandan and survivor of the civil war.

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During her adolescence in Africa, Proscovia was a “night commuter,” a term that relates to the tens of thousands of children who fled (and continue to flee) their homes at night for shelters in town centers, away from the rebel attacks of the LRA.

“She was one of those people … always risking the fear of being robbed or raped,” Lancette said. “She’s here to tell her story and let people know what they can do to help with the problem.”

After her father was killed in the war, Proscovia received a scholarship to attend high school in Uganda, said Lancette. There, she graduated top of her class, and is now enrolled to attend a university in Uganda next year.

Lancette describes Proscovia’s accomplishments as “in and of itself ridiculous.”

“In Ugandan universities, only one out of every 90 people is female,” Lancette said. “What’s more is that, out of all university-aged women in the country, less than one percent actually goes to college.”

The conflict in Uganda – the longest civil war in Africa’s history, originating in the early 1980s – persistently takes lives, aided by Kony’s army.

The LRA are widely accused of murder, abduction and the sexual enslavement of women and children, and continue to abduct children and force them to fight as soldiers, said IC’s website.

According to Lancette, ninety percent of the LRA is made up of people who were abducted at an early age. Part of the organization’s mission, she said, is to end the conflict and bring the child soldiers back home.

Freshman Laura Turner, who has been helping in the promotion of Stories of War, said she expects the event to be well-received.

“I expect eyes to be opened,” she said. “People know there are issues and war … but they don’t understand the reality of it. The people suffering halfway around the world aren’t any different than we are here.”

Aside from hosting the film and discussion, Stories of War will also serve as a fundraiser, with all money going to educational projects in Uganda.

“Last year, we had about 270 people come to a screening,” Lancette said. “We had this scholarship that would help send Ugandans to high school – our goal was three, but we got 17 donations.”

People can also find out more information by joining IC’s Facebook page, Turner said.

“I know quite a few people showed up last year,” she said. “I hope we get a similar turnout for this one.”

Stories of War begins at 6 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium. Admission is free to the public.

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Telling the stories of war