Champ Fights For Children

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"I was a child soldier in Uganda and I know what war can do to child. It's time for the world to stand up and say enough is enough," said Ouma, who is from the village of Busia, which is on the Kenyan border in southeastern Uganda. "GuluWalk is listening to these kids and being their voice, and I'm proud to go into the ring for children who have suffered enough."

Former child soldier Kassim ‘The Dream’ Ouma will be stepping into the ring not just for his country on Saturday, May 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, he will also be entering the squared circle for GuluWalk and the children of northern Uganda.
'The Dream', a former world champion and the official number one contender for the World Junior Middleweight title, will have the GuluWalk logo emblazoned on both his robe and his trunks when he enters the ring in front of a worldwide audience on HBO. Ouma's bout will be featured as the main undercard for the much anticipated return to the ring of 'The Golden Boy', Oscar De La Hoya.

In 1984, Ouma was kidnapped by the rebel National Resistance Army at the tender age of five, along with his entire primary school class. He was forced to fight in unspeakable conditions and spent five years with the NRA, which was led by current Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, before being reunited with his family 1989.

"I was a child soldier in Uganda and I know what war can do to child. It's time for the world to stand up and say enough is enough," said Ouma, who is from the village of Busia, which is on the Kenyan border in southeastern Uganda. "GuluWalk is listening to these kids and being their voice, and I'm proud to go into the ring for children who have suffered enough."

GuluWalk is a Canadian-led event that started as a way to better understand the ordeal of the ‘night commuters’ of northern Uganda. It has now grown into an urgent, impassioned worldwide movement for peace. GuluWalk will go global once again in October of 2006 and will continue to raise awareness and money to support children's programs in northern Uganda.

"To have Kassim step forward and take a stand for the children of the north is an important statement," said GuluWalk co-founder Adrian Bradbury. "This sends a clear message to all Ugandans and the entire international community that we are all responsible. Every child is indeed precious and what's happening in the north today deserves our immediate attention."

Not only do the children ‘night commute’ in northern Uganda, but over 1.7-million displaced persons have been forced into abhorrent conditions in camps where over 1,000 people are dying every week because of a lack of clean water, food and medical care. These camps are a horrifically inadequate protection strategy and the only answer for the Acholi of northern Uganda is peace.

In July of 2005, Adrian Bradbury and Kieran Hayward embarked on a 31-day walk, GuluWalk, to raise awareness for a humanitarian emergency thousands of miles away, for children they’d never met and for a nation they’d never even stepped foot in. 

In the spring of last year is when Bradbury and Hayward first heard the stories of the ‘night commuters’ of northern Uganda. They kept reading these unbelievable accounts of children, as many as 40,000, who would walk every night from rural villages into the town of Gulu and other urban centres to sleep in relative safety and to avoid abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The plight of these children sparked the idea for GuluWalk, a 31-day ‘night commute’ in support of these courageous kids. Every evening in July of 2005, Bradbury and Hayward walked 12.5 km into downtown Toronto to sleep in front of city hall. After about fours hours sleep they made the trek home at sunrise, all while continuing to work full-time and attempting to maintain their usual daily routine.

There was a worldwide response to the GuluWalk that resulted in GuluWalk Day on October 22, which saw over 15,000 people in 38 cities worldwide take the first international step towards telling the story of the children of northern Uganda. GuluWalk Day attracted people of all nationality, colour, race and religion in a global show of support for the innocent victims of the world’s most ignored humanitarian emergency.

Along with GuluWalk, Bradbury also founded Athletes for Africa, a charitable organization that uses the profile of sport to raise awareness and funds for sustainable development programs on the ground in Africa.

Speaking Truth To Empower.� To contact The Black Star News write editor@blackstarnews.com or call (212) 481-7745. Subscribe to this newspaper and advertise to build power.

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