Uganda’s insurgency scars an entire generation of children.

By November 25, 2005

Uganda (MNN)–The United Nations is increasing its presence in Uganda to help over two million people displaced by the civil war.

UN reports say it’s one of the largest ignored humanitarian crises. Most of the refugees fleeing the 19-year war live in over 200 squalid and overcrowded camps and rely largely on international assistance to survive.

The tragedy, says World Vision’s Amy Parodi (par-AW-dee), is a whole generation of young adults know only war. “Rehabilitation, spiritual and psychological counseling and help are going to be absolutely vital, in addition to helping the displaced community and the unemployed community to find employment and to get themselves back on their feet. So they don’t feel like they have to resort to violence to make ends meet.”

Parodi says their team is especially sensitive to the effect of the Gospel in this region. “We have a wonderful opportunity, especially through our rehabilitation centers, to share, particularly, forgiveness with these children.”

Many times, the children are kidnapped by rebels in the Lord’s Resistance Army and pressed into service. It’s not uncommon, Parodi says, for the children to have been forced to commit atrocities against family members.

Aside from being ordered to do so, there is guilt associated with self-preservation. The children are scarred by their actions. Michael Oruni, manager for World Vision’s rehabilitation center says, “In 10 years of operation, we have helped reintegrate nearly 11,000 children with the community.”

Parodi goes on to explain why their program is so successful. “When they come into World Vision’s Center and they learn that they can be forgiven, that they can start fresh, that somebody else paid the consequences for that, they experience that forgiveness in a way that most of us in the United States can’t even begin to understand.”

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