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Gulu Walk raises funds for Uganda

Emma Driscoll | Sunday, October 12, 2008

As part of an international effort to draw attention to the 22 year long war in northern Uganda between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Africa Faith and Justice Network and the Student Government of Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) sponsored the GuluWalk Sunday.

“[The GuluWalk is to] raise awareness and to raise money for those who are suffering in northern Uganda,” President of the Africa Faith and Justice Network Sean Gaffney said.

As many as 40,000 children in Uganda would walk from their villages to Gulu or another urban location in order to sleep as safely as possible and to reduce the chances of being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army, according to the GuluWalk’s Web site.

“[We] walk to be symbolically in solidarity with those children who were forced to do so every night,” Gaffney said.

Although the night commuting has stopped, according to the GuluWalk Web Site, Gaffney said that there are still over two million people in camps who have been displaced by the war.

GuluWalk is an international campaign of Athletes for Africa, a registered Canadian charity, and is coordinated in the United States in partnership with Resolve Uganda, according to the GuluWalk Web site.

GuluWalk partners with War Child Canada, Canadian Physicians for Aid & Relief, AMREF Canada and the Justice and Reconciliation Project and distributes donations to these organizations, according to the Web site.

IUSB and Notre Dame’s GuluWalk earned money through pre-fundraising and through donations collected at the end of the walk. Gaffney said the Africa Faith and Justice Network worked with other organizations on campus to raise money.

A final total of funds raised in Sunday’s walk was not available yesterday, but Gaffney said T-shirts will still be sold.

Last year, the GuluWalk raised four thousand dollars, Gaffney said.

The GuluWalk started on the campus of IUSB and participants walked along the streets of South Bend and returned to IUSB for a closing ceremony.

“We think it’s a good show of community support to do it in South Bend rather than on Notre Dame’s campus,” Gaffney said.

Gaffney estimated that about one hundred people took part in the walk and said there was “definitely a mix” of students and members of the South Bend community who walked.

“It was good that there were so many students who made it out this time,” Gaffney said. “Notre Dame students probably made up the majority, but there were IUSB students and community members as well.”