From: the Right Reverend Bishop Benjamin Ojwang, chairman Board of DirectorsWelcome to the home of FRO online! FRO was founded in 1999 by Anywar Ricky Richard. The organization began in a humble way as a result of Ricky’s experiences as an abducted child at the age of 14 by LRA. Ricky has used his child soldier experiences as motivation to found Friends of Orphans (FRO), a registered NGO whose mission is to contribute to the empowerment, rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers, abductees, child mothers, orphans and to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Ricky was the first and only employee of the organization, and had very few resources to work with. He spent many sleepless nights in those first few years. Yet, the power of his vision prevailed, and from those humble beginnings, the organization has grown to a full-time staff of 21 employees, 36 Community based volunteers and numerous international volunteers and interns.
Ricky Anywar Richard has gone from a child soldier to a human rights and peace building activist, educator, and administrator who has dedicated his life to giving voice, opportunity and hope to those afflicted by war in Northern Uganda. His life experience as a child soldier, abductee and orphan in the Lord's Resistance Army are beyond comprehension, he has endured what most cannot fathom. Instead of allowing this experience to overtake his life, it has become his motivation to build a thriving NGO, which is creating the needed positive change and opportunities within Northern Uganda. Ricky's experience is compelling, inspiring and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit to turn tragedy into positive action.
In his own words Ricky says. "It is an amazing thing I like doing in my life, changing from a lost young rebel “child soldier” to working to help people come out of their difficult situations is the happiest moment in my life. When I look back at my past life and who I am now with a changed heart, l always feel joy. I hope to one day see FRO grow to an international organization, serving former child soldiers all over the world. I do not wish to be recognized as a hero or a prophet but as a committed servant to find a permanent solution that will end the use of child soldiers and abduction. As a former child solider, I fully understand the difficulties and suffering [one goes through] fighting alongside the Lords Resistance Army. I was rescued and got the opportunity to go back to school, going all the way to university. I know the role this education has played in my life transforming me from a child solider to someone of value in the community. My aim is to serve the needs of orphans, former child soldiers, child mothers, orphans and widows who have been traumatized by many years of war ..."
It is my desire to see a society in which the vulnerable youth are empowered to achieve their full potential and contribute to the development of their community.
The organization is administered by former child soldiers, orphans and abductees from Pader District, all of whom was and continues to be affected by the war in Northern Uganda.
Thank you for your continuous support to Friends of Orphans.