Carrying a camera they purchased on eBay and their parents’ credit cards, the young men endured Malaria and scabies as they journeyed from Sudan to Kenya, searching to find a story worth telling.
They found it, all right, in northern Uganda. There, Russell and his friends stumbled across thousands of Ugandan children who make the nightly trek from their homes in outlying villages to nearby towns, sleeping in parking garages and bus stations in order to escape abduction by the so-called Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA.
The LRA is a rebel group that has terrorized Uganda for twenty years, kidnapping more than 30,000 children and forcing them to fight for the LRA. Those who resist face murder or mutilation.
So this is the vision these guys have for Uganda.
Invisible Children, Inc. is dedicated to providing financial resources to invisible children by documenting their true, untold stories in a creative and relevant way, resulting in positive change.
Jolly: the woman with the dream.
In 2003, Jolly Okot brought the filmmakers to Northern Uganda in hopes that her dream would one day come to fruition: Thousands of Acholi children given the chance to succeed through education.
She knew that if the filmmakers saw the thousands of children fleeing their homes and sleeping in the streets, they would not be able to ignore them. She was right.
Now Invisible Children Inc. is dedicated to educating the children of Uganda, as well as raising awareness on what the U.N. has deemed “the greatest emergency in the world today involving children;” And a movement began because Jolly believed that these children deserved the world’s attention.
Jolly is still at the forefront of our efforts “on the ground” in Uganda, and is now responsible for advising any IC staff on culture and tradition, as well as keeping the program running in Uganda, primarily by Ugandans...
Jacob: the boy who cried.
On the first night in Northern Uganda the three filmmakers met Jacob at the bus park. Jacob, a former child soldier, was taken from his home, and robbed of his education. After escaping “the bush” at 14, he dreamed of returning to school to become a lawyer, but did not have the means to do so. At the end of the “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” Jacob says, “I have nothing. I don’t even have a blanket. We don’t have anything to do with food. Maybe we can eat once a day… so it is better when you kill us. And, if possible you can kill us, you kill us. For us, we don’t want now to stay. …no one taking care of us. We are not going to school...” Immediately after saying this, the filmmakers cried with him.
For the first time, it was understood what the children affected by this war felt; And what these children wanted. In 2003 the filmmakers made a promise, as friends, to pay Jacob’s way through school. Under Jolly’s constant watchful eye, Jacob has had much success in school, and has benefited immensely from her guidance. But he is just one boy.The filmmakers thought, “If this bond between child and mentor helps make a difference, maybe it can change lives on a larger scale.” And so they put it to work.
At only 16, Jacob provoked Invisible Children Inc.’s belief in education as a way to freedom.Jacob has, without knowing it, turned Jolly’s dream into a reality. Jacob, the quiet boy with the contagious laugh, has sparked a fire that will eventually give thousands of children the freedom to learn.