Students Wage War on Use of Children as Soldiers

Guest Column

By Brighid Docherty

(Cazenovia, NY – April 2012) Cazenovia College’s All College Honors Program and Human Rights Club have joined forces to wage war on Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Republican Army. Our groups have worked on this issue since last year, when we held a screening of the first Invisible Children documentary, “The Rough Cut.”

On Friday, April 20, we have pledged to be silent and will hand out fliers explaining our silence. In the evening, we will cover the campus with posters urging justice for the children who have been abducted from their homes, abused and indoctrinated to become soldiers, or ‘wives’ for officers in Joseph Kony’s Lords Republican Army.

I first heard about Invisible Children when I was a student at Maple Hill High School in Castleton. I first saw “The Rough Cut” documentary and was appalled at what I saw. It was disgusting to me that I had been so ignorant to what was happening in the world.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any real means to help as a sophomore in high school in a very small town. When I found out that the Honors Program would be participating in Invisible Children programs here at Caz, I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity to help the cause.

I have always believed that if I have the ability to take action, I have the responsibility to take action. I have been given the opportunity to live a full life, and I see myself as being obligated to use my life to help those who have not been as lucky. I am a firm believer in the Invisible Children’s motto, “human life is equal, and where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live.”

Because I have been given this life, I feel it is my duty to use it to make as much of a difference as I can in the lives of others.

The money we collect through the next few weeks will go to a program run by Invisible Children called “Schools for Schools.” We will establish a long-term relationship between Invisible Children and Cazenovia College’s All-College Honors Program.

The “Schools for Schools” program connects our college with a single partner school in Central Africa and allows us to raise funds that will be used to provide whatever that school needs – perhaps desks, or a water treatment system, or textbooks.

The goal of the program is to implement a grass-roots movement in Central Africa that helps the people of these communities improve their own lives. Education for citizens is the single most important thing that we can provide to help a country become a better place. By becoming involved in “Schools for Schools,” we can help our partner school by adding to their available funds and allowing them to make enhancements in their own community.

Working on this project has motivated me to continue working with not-for-profit organizations, and has shown me ways I can use the skills I’m learning to further worthy causes. As a visual communications student here at Caz, I’ve had the opportunity to use my design skills to spread a message I feel is important. I see more clearly the uses that design can have in the world and in communication, and it has certainly made me think about possible career paths.

I have been much more motivated to seek out ways to help various organizations in both my Cazenovia community and my home community in Castleton. The majority of my work in Caz has been through the All College Honors program, but at home I’ve begun to use my design skills at my church for their various committees.

Working on “Kony 2012” with the honors program has made me feel like I am part of a community, made me realize that there are people both here and across the globe who are just as passionate as I am, and has made me realize that even though I’m one person, I have valuable skill sets that can make a difference, however small.

Brighid Docherty is a sophomore visual communications major and member of the All College Honors Program.

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