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Mepham Students Start Organization to Help African Children

The Kony 2012 video inspired the teenagers to create Mepham Kares.

When Jessie Almont of Mepham High School first saw the Kony 2012 video, she became outraged.

"I was really upset by it," the 17-year-old said. "When I saw all those kids, I thought about what would happen if I was in Uganda. I have a younger brother and I thought about what would happen if he was there."

The next day, Almont sent the YouTube link of the video to her principal and the school administration.  After sharing her ideas with the faculty, Almont and many of her classmates came together and created Mepham Kares, a global outreach program that aims to support countries in Africa.

"The Kony video inspired us to do something, but we did not want it to be all about the "Stop Kony" campaign," Almont said. "We wanted to help the children."

In less than three weeks, the students created Mepham Kares, a website for the organization, a Twitter account with more than 50 followers and a YouTube page. The organization has five committees and more than 30 members.

Assistant Principal Jennifer Carne said that she is so impressed that the young activists used the power of social media to make a difference.

"The Kony video went viral and that's how it reached so many people," she said. "The students know that they have the social networking tools to reach out globally."

On a recent day, the organization hosted the "1,000 Bracelet Campaign" at Mepham High School.  More than 100 students made bracelets out of string that were dedicated to victims of Joseph Kony's reign. Students researched the names and stories of more than 100 child soldiers and each bracelet will represent one of them. On May 11, the students will host a  "Night of Action," and read the stories of the victims.

Stu Stein, a history teacher at Mepham, said that he has never seen students so dedicated and united for a cause.

"I have been teaching for 12 years and I have never seen anything like this," Stein said. "Kids are coming up to me asking me about Uganda. When many saw the video they started putting posters up around the school. These kids really wanted to do something."

Carne agreed.

"This is so student driven and it is so successful because they are passionate about this," she said.

Meaghan Soel, director of the organization's Direct Action Committee, said that everyone should get involved in helping children in Africa and all over the world.

"We all saw the video and it was awful and tragic," the 16-year-old said. "Everyone needs to stand up for something." 

This story has been chosen for the Huffington Post series, Greatest Person of the Day.

jean coster March 26, 2012 at 09:00 PM
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah is an awesome book! Anyone interested in Invisiblechildren.org should read this book. Also check out the African childrens choir who are children that are victims of dictators like Kony. Its an awesome cause.
Matthew Hogan March 26, 2012 at 09:11 PM
@Jean: GREAT recommendation! "A Long Way Gone" is a fantastic book. Truly chilling to see what boys and girls have to go through in certain parts of Africa -- really gives you a different perspective on life.
kbaker March 27, 2012 at 05:48 PM
hopefully someone is also making these kids aware that the KONY video is propaganda and filled with half-truths
Jessie Caitlyn January 11, 2013 at 12:09 AM
@kbaker This is incredibly late, but we did our research! The Invisible Children organization was questionable and we very quickly shied away from the Kony movement altogether, but continue to help children that are affected by strife and poverty, even some that are recent Kony victims.

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