Hope North, Uganda
Hope North is a campus in northern Uganda where refugees, orphans and former child soldiers find a place to call home, and where art, music and dance are the basis for healing the war’s many emotional wounds.
Northern Uganda was ravaged by civil war for over two decades, resulting in a humanitarian crisis that can still be felt today. The length and magnitude of the crisis was the result of Uganda's complex history, with the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) waging war against the existing government and terrorizing Northern Uganda, while the general population was caught in the crossfire. While the LRA was the most notorious rebel group, it was by no means the only one to resort to violence.
Directed by Kony, the LRA rebels have abducted and forced more than 30,000 children to fight for them in Central Africa between 1988 and 2012. In 2005, Kony was indicted for war crimes in the International Criminal Court in the Hague, but moved his base to neighboring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and has thus far evaded capture.
The abduction and exploitation of these "invisible children" is a tragedy that Hope North seeks to redress through education, vocational training and by providing a safe space for children to grow and flourish.
Through fundraising by Lalela Project and by the Blue School in New York, an Art Center was built on the Hope North campus, opening its doors in January 2012. Our teacher training program will implement the Lalela Project signature curriculum of Ideas, Art and Music, benefitting these former child victims of war. This psycho-social arts curriculum will give them a voice to deal with the trauma and conflict that they have witnessed, and inspire their imagination to conceive of a peaceful future.