Tag Archives: Childhood

In the Shoes of a Child Soldier

14 Jul

Blog post by Caroline M., Team Ethiopia 2012

Pause for a minute.  Put yourself in the shoes of a child soldier.

You are ten years old. An army comes to your home, puts a gun in your hands and tells you to shoot your family.  If you don’t do it, they will shoot you. After being forced to kill the ones you love, you leave with them to become apart of their army. Day in and day out you are forced to kill and rape innocent people only to hold on to your own life.  You participate in combat, lay mines and explosives, spy, act as decoys and are exposed to sexual slavery. You witness violent deaths and mutilations. You are brainwashed to do nothing but kill and destroy. This is how approximately 300,000 child soldiers live everyday.

Child soldiers are boys and girls who fight in adult wars, missing out on the safe childhood that many of us take for granted.  In 2004, as much as 100,000 children were actively involved in armed conflict in Africa.  These soldiers can be as young as seven.  Below are some alarming statistics.

80% of children aged 8 to 13 in Sierre Leone had suffered the death of a close family member.

74% saw somebody being killed or injured with machetes.

68% saw somebody being burned to death or tortured.

10% of girls have been gang raped.

66% have been in a situation where they expected to die.

Witnessing your parents death, being separated from your family and being forced to participate in violent acts can leave a child scarred.  This may lead to physical and psychological problems such as: general poor health, physical abuse or deprivation, drug addiction, sexual abuse, exploitation and unwanted pregnancy, serious war injuries and mental and emotional trauma.

You can’t pretend this doesn’t exist.  So what are you gonna do?  Spread the word.  Everyone needs to know about this horrible reality.

Caroline resides in Pennsylvania and will be serving with Journey117 this month on Team Ethiopia.  

Advertisements