Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
July 12th, 2011
Lord's Children
Introduction

“Startling and strangely poetic”
–PopMatters

ABOUT THE ISSUE

The region of Northern Uganda was ravaged by one of Africa’s longest civil wars until 2006. For over 20 years, more than 65,000 children, some as young as five years old, have been kidnapped by Uganda’s anti-government rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and forced to serve as child soldiers and sex slaves.

Under the command of LRA leader Joseph Kony, these children have been terrorized into committing the worst atrocities, even killing their own families. Lord’s Children follows three former LRA soldiers who escaped from the bush and have since taken refuge in a rehabilitation center.

ABOUT THE FILM

WIDE ANGLE is with the center’s counselors as they help the physically and emotionally scarred children put their lives back together. Jennifer Akelo was abducted by the LRA when she was nine years old, handed a gun and trained to fight. Raped by a rebel soldier, Jennifer now fears that she is HIV positive. Kilama, 13, is rejected by his grandmother who is fearful of his turbulent past. Homeless, he wanders to the nearby city, like thousands of other children, in constant fear of being re-kidnapped by the rebels.

At a young age, Francis witnessed two children executed with machetes for not following orders. Terrified of a similar fate, he fled and now hopes to be reunited with his mother. As these children piece their lives together, the LRA continues to carry out attacks in the region. While the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Kony in 2005, he remains at large hiding in the jungle of neighboring Congo, where he and his followers have been accused of more child kidnappings.

  • Davy

    This is such an important topic to discuss and glad to see it’s getting some time on NPR. No organization is more in touch and doing more to raise awareness and implementing on the ground development programs than Invisible Children (www.invisiblechildren.com)

  • ChildSoldierRelief

    Glad to hear that PBS recognizes the significance of this issue – and nothing is greater for a cause than public awareness.

  • Rocket

    This is a huge and tragic issue. So many lives have been affected. Another organization working toward awareness and peace in the region is The Name Campaign. (www.namecampaign.org)

  • MariaL

    It sure snaps one out of their own pity party. Something I noticed about all three of the children is that they never cried and that was so telling. The trauma and pain were such that tears relieve nothing. There was such a sense of “let me just get to the next moment and that will be enough.”

  • Linda Reece

    Just finished watching your (there-are-no-words)coverage. Noted that the rehab center was closed in 2006. Are you aware of the ongoing ministry in that region by Angels of East Africa? Website is angelsofeastafrica.org Please check it out.

  • Jeff Strate

    “Lord’s Children” is a beautiful, sensitively crafted documentary about the complex and painful recovery of Acholi children from evil and unspeakable circumstances in Northern Uganda. The openess of the families, institutions and care givers in front of WideAngle’s cameras demonstrates that goodness is resiliant and vibrant in my former home. Thank you WideAngle.

  • owino

    How can I get a copy of the child soldiers, Uganda?

  • Maria

    I just came back from Pajule, Uganda a week ago. I spent two months there working at a CBO that helped educate orphans and other vulnerable children. I only caught the very end of this program, and could not believe the things that I recognized. I would really like to see the rest of the video. When will it air again?

    I am very happy to see that PBS is addressing this issue. The people of Pajule and Northern Uganda are so amazing. They have been through so much, and still are constantly smiling and very happy. I learned so much from these people and am so glad that I got the opportunity to experience their amazing culture. My heart just exploded with emotion when I saw this. Pajule had such an impact on my life.

  • Barbara Peacock

    PBS and Aaron Brown, you have informed us. Now we can all act. In a small way, Nziza is helping. (www.nziza.org)

  • Liz

    I am a christian and I was sadenned when I heard Francis sing the song that was song by the LRA. I declare that it is not Christ whom they sing. In Matthew 7:23 Jesus says “And then I will declare to them: I never knew you. Depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.” Those men are not of Christ. I felt deeply for Kilama. I hope that someone may share with him 1 John 1:9. It says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteouss to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Someone once shared with me that to forgive us is to release us from the ofensses of our sins and to cleanse is to wash us from the stain of all unrighteousness. The blood of Christ is the most effective cleanser in the whole universe. Christ has justified us. And as far as Kilama is concerned, he is justified before God by believing in Christ. So no matter what he has done in the past, no matter what he suffers now, he is justified by faith in God through Christ.

  • Philip Grinslade

    Wide Angle/Aaron Brown:

    Thank you for the presentation of “The Lord’s Children.” I have respected and admired your work for many years, but I am especially grateful for your work on Wide Angle. This presentation of the problems suffered by Uganda and its children who have been abducted and exposed to so much evil, it very informative and helps to create an important understanding for the social, cultural, and personal problems that affect the people of this country who have endured so much suffering. My compliments to you and to all who are associated with you in this important work that helps to educate us and enable us to transcend our ignorance.

    Sincerely and respectfully,

    Philip Grinslade

  • ShannonB

    My husband led a missions team of 57 people from Oregon to three displacement camps near Gulu, Uganda in November of 2007. He heard many stories like the ones on this episode, and it broke his heart. Thankfully, our team was able to bring the hope of Jesus to the camps, and thousands of people were able to begin a new life in Christ. There are some photos of this trip on our ministry’s website (www.reidsaunders.org).

  • ShannonB

    I just sent a post a few minutes ago. Here is a better link: (http://www.reidsaunders.org/january08.pdf); it is a PDF of the newsletter we sent out after our mission to Gulu, which tells more about the trip and contains photos of the medical clinic and more.

  • Linda

    Thank you, Mr. Brown, for bringing such attention to an issue so seemingly silent to the world. I visited northern Uganda earlier this year, and most of the places mentioned in the program. I never met one person who was not affected by the LRA. ‘Such brutal, unimaginable atrocities! God be with these Invisible Child Soldiers. (www.awaytohelp.org)

  • Maribel; Chalmers

    Thank you PBS and Aaron Brown, for the thoughtful,presentation of “Lords Children”Difficult to watch, except for the quiet deep vision of these people walking thru their lives with such strength and faith WE need more of these programs, yes, the world is so small now, and we all are a part of it, I hope the union of PBS and Aaron Brown, will continue to bring this extraordinary grasp of knowledge and put it within our reach. thank you

  • Chris McEwen

    I was heartened to see such an informative and compassionate program on TV about the children, families and communities devastated by the LRA violence. I run a website that features some of the same artwork done by child survivors as was featured on the program – http://kitgumschildren.net. The children speak for themselves in images worth not just a thousand, but a million poignant words.

  • Mohamed

    Just out of curiousity, how and who funds the Lords Resistance Army? Where are the bullets and guns sourced from? Instead of rhetorical half–baked solutions we owe it to these innocent lives and ravaged communities in finding a sustainable solution!

  • Alanna Johnston

    I am sorry to say I only caught the end of this episode “Lord’s Children”. I was not aware of this program Wide Angle until today. At first the subject matter is what drew me to watch and then I saw that Aaron Brown was hosting it which, for me, added a credibility in telling a story that needs to be heard! I am thrilled to see Aaron Brown again and will follow the Wide Angle program closely knowing that conscientious reporting is in place for such serious and important subjects. I will also looking forward to visiting some of these sites indicated in this blog.
    thank you Aaron Brown.
    I will look forward and hope to see this particular program in it’s entirety.

  • Kat Daniels

    Oh my goulash! Reading and watching about this made me very sad!!!

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 WNET.ORG Properties LLC. All rights reserved.