In 1999 Ricky Anywar set up the humanitarian organization known as “Friends Of Orphans”. F.R.O. operates in the war zones of Uganda and focuses on rescuing former child soldiers, single mothers, women, AIDS victims and vulnerable members of the community and reinstating them in society. At the age of 14, Ricky was forced into slavery and obliged to serve as a soldier in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), he took part in crimes that have caused him a profound sense of guilt. He was forced to witness episodes of torture, rape and murder, including that of his own parents. After having fortuitously escaped his persecutors, he managed to obtain a degree that enabled him to get a job in the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sport.
F.R.O. operates in the Pader district, the most dangerous part of northern Uganda, where up until a few years ago even the major international NGOs feared to go. His mission is to offer children forcefully recruited by the militias and all the victims of war a chance of redemption. As well as providing such people with material aid, F.R.O. gives them one-to-one psychological support, professional and cultural training, opportunities to socialize through music and sport and information about how to tackle AIDS. In addition, they are also taught about human rights, peace and how to live within a legal social framework.
Anywar’s work places him at great risk, due to frequent raids by the rebels, who rampage around the area killing and attacking. One of their victims was a colleague of Anywar’s, who was seriously injured.
In 2008 F.R.O. received the John Templeton Foundation “Freedom Award” and the “World of Children” award for his humanitarian commitment.