Metro Students Raise $22K for Child Slaves in Uganda

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Children as young as six and seven kidnapped from their villages, armed with weapons and forced to kill or be killed.

This is the reality kids growing up in Uganda face today due to terrorist Joseph Kony.
But there is a resistance army, with members in the metro, who are fighting for their freedom.

While Ugandan children half a world away are armed for war, students in Lee's Summit arm themselves for peace.

"Where you live shouldn't determine whether you live," said Amy Van Drunen, 18.  The Lee's Summit High School senior bought the story of Invisible Children to her school.

Invisible Children is working to save children in Uganda from a lifetime of wartime slavery.  Children have been routinely kidnapped, usually during the night, to fight for Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army.  They are armed with weapons and forced to kill or be killed.  An estimated 90-percent of fighters in Kony's army were abducted as children.

"There a scene in the documentary where they pan out and there are hundreds of children sleeping in a large common room because they are fearful they will be abducted and forced into slavery overnight.  That was probably the moment it hit me," said Emma Williamson, a senior at Lee's Summit North and a friend of Amy's.

Amy told Emma about the injustice, which made Emma want to bring the Invisible Children campaign to Lee's Summit North.  Others quickly joined in her effort and together the school raised $21,869 in just 60 days.  All of the money will help Invisible Children fight against Uganda's LRA.

"It's hard not to care when something horrible is happening in the same world we live in," said Tessa Riley, a junior at Lee's Summit North.  Tessa made dozens key chains and ended up raising more than $2,000 for the cause.  "You just can't turn your back to it when there are horrible things happening in Uganda.  You can just do the smallest thing, like donate a dollar and it can help change a life."

Or hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.  Invisible Children is using the money raised to build schools as well as radio towers, which will warn villages when the army is approaching so they aren't caught off guard - and so the vulnerable children who are now invisible may one day be invisible.

To learn how you can help, visit the Invisible Children website.  While there you can learn how to donate, spread the word and buy goods which directly help the cause.

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