*** Our Indiegogo campaign has reached the deadline. However, we are still accepting donations. Donations can be mailed to: 103 Leadership Building, Attn. International Service Teams, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Ks. 66506. Checks can be made out to "Kansas State University" with "Team Uganda" in the memo line.***
Who We Are
We are a team of 6 undergraduate students and 1 doctoral candidate at Kansas State University. Near the end of last semester we began to put together a once in a lifetime opportunity to expand upon our education by spending a summer in Uganda conducting hands-on research and performing community service as a member of the International Service Teams (IST) at Kansas State University.
IST is a service-learning program of interdisciplinary teams of KSU students who serve in communities around the world. Over the past 21 years, IST has served in communities in Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, and South Africa, through the development of service-learning initiatives based on specific community needs.
While service learning has historically been a portion of the IST program, we are the first team to incorporate a research component to our trip. This is not only a benefit to our team, but it is also pushing the expansion of the IST program to provide future Kansas State students real-world research experience.
For nearly 20 years Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistence Army terrorized Uganda. In 2006, attacks within Uganda ended and the country has since seen nearly 7 years of peace. At the height of the attacks, it is estimated that nearly 90% of northern Ugandans were internally displaced. Those who had the resources and ability fled, many to Kampala in the south. However, an estimated 1.8 million people were not as fortunate and called an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp home.
Since 2007 the victims of the LRA's reign of terror have been returning home to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. Despite the end of attrocities inside of Uganda nearly 6 years prior, the Kony 2012 movement drew tremendous newfound attention to the region. This attention has led to numerous developments on the national and international level. Billions of dollars in aid and military soldiers have found their way into east Africa to track down Joseph Kony and bring him to justice.
During a recent trip to Uganda to set up contacts at Makerere University, M-Lisada orphanage, and Bead for Life, we learned that many Ugandans do not view the influx of attention favorably. In fact, many people we talked to were confused as to why this conflict, years after attrocities have ended, is the one that has garnered attention.
When we began delving deeper into their views, we learned that the campaign is largely missing historical and cultural context. We also learned (after listening to hours of life-stories) that everyone has a story.
What is their story? How do they view the recent influx of attention? What do they see as important in their daily lives? Where do they think international attention should be drawn?
Ugandans are not "voiceless" (as they are often portrayed). But, in many cases, they do lack ability to be heard. We hope to provide that conduit.
What We Need
A 10 week trip to Uganda for 7 college students is not cheap. For airfare, in country transportation, housing, and basic necessities, we are in search of about $28,000 ($4,000 per person).
In addition to asking family and friends, we have applied for several grants/scholarships and have planned numerous fundraising events.
Without funding, there are some in our group who may not be able to travel. That is why we are here at Indiegogo asking for your support. :)
In sociology we like to use the phrase, "become an outsider, within." In that spirit, we will actually live with families who have been directly and indirectly impacted by LRA activities. This does two things. First, it brings funds and support to some of the poorest families in the world rather than a hotel. Second, it keeps our cost as low as possible.
We are not in this to make a profit. If we are fortunate enough to fully fund our travel, all additional money will be donated to M-Lisada orphanage in Kampala, Uganda and Bead for Life.
We are currently enrolled in a Leadership Studies course where we are learning about international travel, Ugandan history, language skills, and advanced research methods. This summer we will travel to Uganda and put these newly learned skills to use by conducting qualitative interviews with families who have been directly impacted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (a rebel group who abducted children nearly a decade ago). For this portion of the project we are partnering with Makerere University (the largest and oldest University in Uganda) and Bead for Life, a poverty alleviation group that teaches highly impoverished women how to make beads, and shea butter products, provides entrepreneurial training, and in some cases provides housing.
In addition, we will spend about half of the summer partnering with M-Lisada orphanage. M-Lisada helps orphans by providing them with a place to stay, helping them become educated, and teaching them life skills. While there we will assist with planting trees, painting their house, teaching the children, aiding the administration, and working with the children as they spend time cleaning the nearby community (Katwe slum).
Other Ways You Can Help
Help spread the word about our campaign! http://igg.me/at/Uganda2013/x/2429087
Media and Events
Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Uganda-Research-Team-2013/213970592077378
Bluestem Bistro May 4th event: http://www.facebook.com/events/496740953714753/...
Manhattan Mercury: http://themercury.com/articles/six-k-state-students-are-bound-for-uganda
Listen to our radio interview: http://1350kman.com/infocus-31813/#
Kansas City Star: http://pressreleases.kcstar.com/release/message...
And tell your friends!