Former child soldier to share story with Hesston College community

Anywar Ricky Richard, a former child soldier from Uganda will share his story during Hesston College chapel at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 7 in the Hesston Mennonite Church sanctuary. Chapel service is free and open to the public.

Richard is a human rights and peace-building activist and educator who will speak about his experiences as a child soldier abducted into the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda at the age of 14, his escape, rehabilitation and reintegration to society.

After escaping the LRA, Richard received a degree in development studies from Kyambogo University (Kampala, Uganda) and a diploma in business administration from Uganda College of Commerce – Kabale. He worked with the Ministry of Education and Sports in Uganda at its headquarters in Kampala. He also serves as project advisor to community-based human rights organizations, working in the areas of peace building, income generation, health, education, arts and culture and economic development.

Richard founded Friends of Orphans in 1999, a social service organization based in Uganda that aids former child soldiers and sex slaves, abductees, orphans, child mothers and vulnerable women heading families. Richard has experience working with disadvantaged communities, war and HIV/AIDS affected communities and internally displaced persons.

In 2006, Richard founded the Anthony Brown Comprehensive School in Pader, Uganda, which educates former child soldiers and is named in honor of Hesston College faculty member and artist-in-residence and internationally acclaimed baritone Anthony Brown.

In 2009, Richard was honored by Free the Slaves, an internationally recognized anti-slavery organization, and awarded the Freedom Award: Harriet Tubman Reintegration Award for his work with social reintegration of survivors of slavery. Also in 2009, he received the Humanitarian Award from World of Children, an internationally recognized child advocacy group.

Richard serves as an Honorary Board Member of Peacing it Together Foundation, an organization that promotes peace and social justice through music and stories founded by Brown. Richard also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of End Slavery Now, a U.S.-based organization that works with former slaves.

Richard will share his experiences Sunday, Nov. 6 with the Hesston Mennonite Church Sunday School classes at 9 a.m. and will speak briefly during the 10:30 a.m. worship service.