In 1988 - famed cult leader Joseph Kony rose to power in Northern Uganda - forming a brutal militia group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. Determined to overthrow the Ugandan government - Kony sparked a civil war that would terrorize the country for the next two decades.
During this time - Kony targeted young children as soldiers, abducting over 30,000 kids from their homes, brainwashing them and arming to kill. Thousands were murdered in the streets and nearly 2 million people were forced into government-run camps riddled with violence and disease.
By 2008, a cease-fire was in the works and Kony was forced out of Uganda. Perhaps no place was more affected by this 20-year terror than Kitgum, a rural district in the north of Uganda. Paralyzed with fear and trauma - the victims of this brutal war were left with the impossible task of transitioning back to any sort of “normal”.
Two years ago - best friends Henry Davis and Fletcher Barnes had the privilege of visiting Uganda and meeting a man named Okurut George. Okurut is on a mission to bring hope into these impacted communities through meditation, yoga, and dance. One of these initiatives is Beyond the Beat - an event that brings together over 2000 people in Kitgum for a light-filled day of creativity, learning, expression, and joy.
Aimed at celebrating and promoting the people of Northern Uganda - the impact of this event can be felt all over the region. Now In its 4th year - Beyond the Beat is growing in size and impact, serving as a light for the future: creating a new industry and bringing hope into a village that had it stripped away.