In 2020, Invisible Children and our partners reunited 37 children, women, and men with their families after they escaped captivity in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). That’s 37 people who will be spending the holidays with their families thanks to your support this year.
Bringing families back together can be a long, difficult, and cost-intensive process. Even after an individual manages to escape, it takes time to find their families and secure the resources for travel, psycho-social support, and more that will be required. In fact, right now, there are 30 people in Invisible Children’s care who are still waiting to go home. With your help, we can make that happen.
This holiday season, give the gift of going home to former LRA captives.
This year, we helped people like Domenic.*
In December 2019, members of Invisible Children staff were in Uganda, participating in meetings with other local and international organizations to discuss the LRA conflict and solutions for protecting communities and helping those who have been impacted recover. During these meetings, we learned of a young Congolese man named Domenic, who needed help returning home after escaping LRA captivity almost a year earlier.
Domenic was abducted by the LRA from his community in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2009 when he was around 12 years old. Eventually, he found himself in Joseph Kony’s group, along the border between the Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan — an area called Kafia Kingi. Domenic was one of the captives put in charge of looking after Joseph Kony’s children.
One day, in January 2019, Domenic and another member of the group – a Ugandan man named Ronald* who had been abducted at age 11 and forced to become a child soldier more than 20 years earlier – decided to escape together. Unfortunately, because they escaped in Sudan, Domenic and Ronald were both far from home and just as far from anyone who could help them get back to their families. They were imprisoned in Sudan for several months before being transferred to Uganda where Ronald was later reunited with his family with the help of Ugandan officials.
Domenic, however, was stuck in limbo; he had no way of returning to DRC or reconnecting with his family there. So, when we learned of his situation, our team immediately began working to help him get home. Our staff engaged with Ugandan and Congolese authorities to facilitate the necessary procedures for Domenic to be allowed to re-enter DRC. When the process was complete, our Congolese partner, Angelique, flew to Uganda to meet Domenic and accompany him on the two day bus ride from Kampala, Uganda to Dungu, DRC, where an Invisible Children-trained host family was waiting to take him in.
As soon as they arrived back in Dungu, Angelique and our Early Warning Network team engaged local radio operators in and around Domenic’s home community to help locate his family. Just a few days later, Domenic’s loved ones were found and informed that he would be coming home soon.
Finally, on January 23, 2020, we reunited Domenic with his family, helping him complete a journey that covered thousands of miles across three countries over the course of a full year.
Domenic’s story has a happy ending. But for too long he was unprotected and overlooked. At Invisible Children, we’re committed to ensuring that, wherever possible, the brave individuals who escape LRA captivity have the help they need to return home and reunite with their families. With your help, we can make sure that others like Domenic are not left without support but, instead, are cared for and ultimately reunited with their loved ones.
This work is only possible with your support. Today, 30 women and children are currently in Invisible Children’s care and waiting to return home. We are working to get them there, but we need your help. In total, it will cost a little over $30,000 to make sure that every one of these former LRA captives can safely reunite with their families in the new year.
This holiday season, help bring families together. Donate to Invisible Children.
*Domenic and Ronald are pseudonyms.