SOS Child Soldiers
In just the last ten years, over two million children have died in wars and conflict. More than one million have been orphaned in the same period and more than six million have been permanently disabled or seriously injured. It is hard to measure the other impacts but it is thought that over ten million have been left with serious stress trauma.
In just the last 5 years, armed conflicts involving child soldiers have raged in 36 countries. However, children are just one of a vast aftermath of post war problems: refugees, food shortages and mourning for lost relatives. Former Child Soldiers may at best have their needs forgotten and at worst even be blamed by their communities for what they did and what happened.
Poorer and less advantaged Children, and children who have already suffered loss are particularly vulnerable to expoitation during conflict. Other children are often kidnapped and forced to fight. Over the last 15 years ten thousand children have been taken from home by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) around Gulu in northern Uganda, alone.
SOS Children works around the world to help Child Soldiers and other children deeply scarred by conflict. As well as our current projects for Uganda and children in Palestine, we are working all around the world with children whose lives can never be the same. Our other current child soldier projects include rehabilitation of Sudan child soldiers in Sudan where SOS is providing family-tracing, counselling, education and support for child soldiers now trying to rebuild their lives.
SOS Children is also able to look back over the years at the needs of child soldiers. A decade after the massacre in Rwanda, we are working hard to rebuild lives. Nine members of our little community were murdered in the genocide back then. Another of our children, who was forced to became a child soldier and join the conflict, only to lose a leg to a land-mine, is interviewed on our Rwanda page.
“War violates every right of a child - the right to life, the right to be with family and nurtured and respected”, (Grace Machel, UN, 1996).