Past Barefoot Peace Walks
In 2010 we decided to hold Barefoot Peace Walk on the same day as the UN International Day of Peace, which takes place every year on the 21st of September. International Peace Day is celebrated all over the world and we were very happy to make Barefoot Peace Walk part of this event.
We gathered at St Martin in the Fields by Trafalgar Square and then walked down Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament. We then walked along the river along the Strand to Covent Garden, where we released hundreds of white balloons, each carrying a message of peace with them.
This year's after event took place in the Africa Centre, Convent Garden. As everyone arrived from the walk, Paddy Dee, a Ugandan musician based in London, was performing some of his latest songs.
Mary Creagh MP shared her views on the LRA and called on walkers not to forget this atrocity but keep raising awareness about it until finally something will be done to stop the violence.
We were thrilled to have Jane Bussmann perform her show 'Bussmann's Holiday'. The story is about how Jane herself went from a celebrity magazines writer to investigating Joseph Kony and the LRA in the North of Uganda. Ever since her experiences in Uganda, Jane has been a prominent advocate to stop the LRA and is touring with her show all over the world.
The whole London event was filmed by CoDoc, a documentary production company who focus their work on freedom of expression and critical thinking and have been working in Uganda to produce their film 'Forgive Me Morther' about former LRA child soldiers. IRT volunteers then edited CoDoc's Barefoot Peace Walk material. Watch the Barefoot Peace Walk 2010 video here!
Meanwhile in Uganda, IRT's partners in Lira as well as Gulu (both in northern Uganda) organised their own Barefoot Peace Walks. The amount of people who took part in the event, especially in Gulu, reached over a thousand participants. We feel that the sheer volume of people taking the time to attend the event, even though the LRA has supposedly left Uganda for 6 years now, highlights how relevant and fresh in people's minds the issue really is.
On the 24th October 2009, International Refugee Trust organised its first Barefoot Peace Walk. IRT had been working alongside GuluWalk the year before to organise GuluWalk London, and in 2009 it was agreed that the focus of the walk should aim towards raising awareness of the LRA atrocities.
Over 150 people attended the Barefoot Peace Walk. Supporters included people who were loyal followers from Gulu Walk as well as new supporters of the walk and IRT.
We started the Saturday afternoon by gathering at Sloane Square where we walkers were welcomed by IRT's Marijn van de Geer and given a brief introduction to the LRA and their activities. We then walked (most people barefoot!) via Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament through Whitehall and ended in Trafalgar Square.
The after-event took place in the Texas Embassy Cantina, where walkers were first treated to a performance by Boujemaa Bouboul, an artist from Morocco using the Gnawa (imported slaves from Sudan) traditional music.
After the music, IRT's trustee Phillida Purvis introduced the work of IRT to the walkers and then gave the floor to Mr Roeland van de Geer who is the EU Special Representative for the African Great Lakes. Mr van de Geer helped us put the LRA into context within the African Great Lakes Region and Central Africa.
Have a look at the high lights of Ambassador van de Geer's speech!
After Mr van de Geer, Chris Muwanguzi- Mugal, a Ugandan expat living in London, gave us his views on the situation in Uganda and on the LRA. Chris is very active in the Ugandan community in the UK and is keen to promote giving back to Uganda and supporting its re-building. Since Barefoot Peace Walk 2009, Chris has become a trustee of IRT.