Former Ugandan child soldiers share story Saturday

October 28, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 28, 2010

The tale of Ugandan child soldiers is coming to Eastridge Church.

“Watoto’s Restore Tour: Child Soldier No More” chronicles child soldiers from northern Uganda — a war-torn place beset by some terrible atrocities. The free stage production starts at 5 p.m. Saturday at the church, 24205 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Road.

The production offers audiences the opportunity to meet the children, hear stories from Uganda and share in the freedom and hope of the children, and offer financial support. The tour features children abducted and forced to serve in the rebel army.

The production contains graphic images, and may not be suitable for children younger than 12.

Set against a backdrop of music, dance, drama and multimedia, the production is intended to enlighten audiences. Watch a trailer of the production here. Learn more here or call the church at 270-6300.

Northern Uganda — and specifically the city of Gulu — is recovering after more than 20 years of unrest. Authorities estimate rebels abducted 20,000 children to serve as child soldiers.

Watoto is a holistic care program initiated as a response to the overwhelming number of abandoned and vulnerable children and women in Uganda. The program includes physical care, medical intervention and HIV/AIDS treatment, education, trauma rehabilitation and spiritual discipleship.

“In Uganda, we found a community — men, women and children left despondent, desperate, stripped of dignity, value and hope,” Watoto founder Gary Skinner said in a news release. “It is our goal and mission to restore what has been lost and we are committed to seeing Gulu and its surrounds flourish in the years to come.”

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