Today, on World Gratitude Day, we’re celebrating YOU — our amazing supporters. On this day set aside to commemorate all that we’re thankful for, we’re excited and proud to say ‘thanks’ to the many friends we have around the world who partner with us every day to end violent conflict and exploitation facing vulnerable communities.
To put it simply: our work in central Africa would not be possible without you. So, today we want to say thank you, by sharing just a few of the ways that you’ve helped us change lives so far this year.
In June, we celebrated the graduation of 16 new medical officers from communities in southeastern Central African Republic (CAR). All of these new medical officers are part of Invisible Children supported and locally-led “Victims Associations” and some were formerly held captive by Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters. Because of you, these 16 people are now able to provide basic medical services to their communities. Not only that, this opportunity to give back to their communities in a meaningful way is also helping them heal from the trauma they have experienced as former LRA captives.
In March 2016, Jean, a Congolese man who had been abducted and forced to become an LRA fighter, was found severely wounded outside a small community in southeastern CAR. Jean was brought to the nearest hospital, where they saved his life but his injuries left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. After months in CAR, too weak to make the journey home to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), your support helped us arrange Jean’s transportation home and ensure that he has the care he needs as he adjusts to life with his injuries. Today, Jean is home in DRC and receiving support from our local partner, Sister Angelique.
Through the Early Warning Radio Network, remote communities in areas of the CAR and DRC are able to warn each other about surrounding danger and call for emergency assistance — the kind of assistance that helped save Daniel’s* life. In January, Daniel, along with his father and brother, was shot by armed poachers who were trafficking ivory. While Daniel’s father and brother were killed in the attack, Daniel miraculously survived. With a life-threatening gunshot wound in his chest, Daniel managed to make it to a nearby community that is part of our Early Warning Radio Network. Because he was in such a remote community, without the Network, Daniel wouldn’t have been able to access the medical care he needed. But, because of your support, the local radio operator was able to use the Network to call for help. Daniel was quickly evacuated to the nearest hospital where his life was saved.
Thanks to your support, our LRA Crisis Tracker team is able to record and analyze reports of armed group activity in central Africa. With this information, international actors like the United Nations peacekeeping missions in CAR and DRC, are better equipped to respond and protect families threatened by armed groups. This June, your support made it possible for us to provide members of the United Nations Security Council with analysis of armed group activity in eastern CAR, which helped inform discussions on how to respond to alarming increases in armed group violence in the region over the last several months. Thanks to the information we were able to provide the Security Council with, members are better able to determine the most effective way to protect local families and stop violent conflict from continuing to spread.
Thanks to you, we’re making incredible progress toward a safer central Africa by equipping local and international change-makers with the tools and information to prevent violence and keep families safe. All of our programs, from our Early Warning Radio Network, to our LRA Crisis Tracker, to Trauma Healing and Reintegration Support are all made possible through your support. So, in honor of World Gratitude day, THANK YOU!
If you haven’t already, we’d love for you to join us in ending violence and exploitation for a safer central Africa. Become a monthly donor today, and you’ll help ensure these and many other life-saving programs in central Africa continue to grow.
*Jean and Daniel’s names have been changed to protect their identities.