Child Soldiers in Sudan
As part of the peace process in Khartoum, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has been releasing hundreds of child soldiers since March 2004. Many of these children, generally aged 10 to 17, had been recruited by force (from about aged 7 or 8) to fight. They were stranded in Malakal where SOS Children runs a community for orphans. Unlike in the western region of Darfur, the terribly maltreated population in the country's south may have a reason to hope for better times. It will take decades to overcome the aftermath of conflict, which left more than two million people dead. There were also many child soldiers among the victims of civil war.
SOS Children is helping former child soldiers in Malakal, South Sudan, an area where thousands of child soldiers have arrived seeking food, assistance to find their families and the possibility of a future. We are providing children with medical check-ups, food, clothes, shelter and vital counselling. In addition the charity runs a family-tracing and re-unification service set up to help re-unite child soldiers with their long lost families.
Whilst conscious of these short term needs, the charity is also working to repair the lives of these children in the long term. We are providing schooling and also running a "back to school" campaign to help to re-start the local education process. Children can recover, and have an amazing capacity to be children again given the chance.
Sudanese Boy still smiling in adversity
Sudanese Boys happy to be back in school