Although Mercyhurst College has 13 Service and Leadership clubs from which to choose, freshman Amanda Paligo was shocked on Sept. 16 when she attended the RSCO fair and saw that an organization was missing: Invisible Children.
Invisible Children is an organization that gives people the opportunity to respond to the crisis in Uganda, where children are being used as weapons. It allows them to inspire and educate those children and make a change.
Paligo has been an active member in this organization for nearly two years. She heard of it through a group of friends and now she has become an active individual by organizing campaigns and speaking at other colleges on behalf of the organization. The Roadies, a team from Invisible Children that travels in search of schools interested in participating, offered her a three-month internship.
Invisible Children was inspired by three young filmmakers who traveled to Africa in the spring of 2003 in search of a story. In Uganda, they discovered a tragedy in which children are both weapons and victims.
When the Southern California boys returned to the States, they created a documentary, “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” which exposed the tragic lives of Northern Uganda’s night commuters and child soldiers. The non-profit Invisible Children, Inc., was created thanks to the encouragement of people from the documentary.
“There are things out there other than you and me. Until you go out and find out, then you don’t know what all there is out there and how you can affect the world,” Paligo said.
Imagine if horrible tragedies were befalling you and your family and every moment of your life was spent in terror wondering if you are next,” she said. “Children in Uganda have been suffering excessively for years under the reign of a man they refer to as ‘the devil himself.’”
If a child is old enough to walk and carry a gun, then he or she is taken from his or her family, beaten, brainwashed and turned into an infamous ‘rebel soldier.’ These children are then beaten, raped and starved. If children refuse to cooperate, they are instantly shot.
“We need to take action now. We need to be the missionaries God put us on this earth to be, even if it’s just from the privacy of your own quaint, safe dorm room,” Paligo said.
Paligo intends to meet with an adviser this week to get this organization started at Mercyhurst, and she seems to have student support for it already.
“Amanda seems very eager for this organization to start in our campus. I hope that she does get it started because I would like to be a part of it and think that other students should consider joining as well,” sophomore Jackie Avione said.
If given permission, she intends to get the Roadies on campus and talk to students about the purpose of the organization and how they can be proactive.