Leaving a fighter’s life behind
Children are being killed, maimed and sexually abused since fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Greater Kasai region erupted in August 2016. Children are also being detained and recruited by militias as combatants, with devastating outcomes. Once released, children must cope with their trauma and reintegrate into society. To do so, they require care and support; you can help by clicking on the Donate button below.
Children who were released or escaped from armed groups play a board game at a transition centre run by the UNICEF-supported National Catholic Children’s Bureau (BNCE), in Kananga, the capital of Western Kasai province, Democratic Republic of Congo.
More than 500 children have been used as combatants or human shields in the Greater Kasai region, and between 40% and 60% of the militia members are children, often younger than 15. At the transition centre in Kananga, children eat together at a communal table.
Children at the centre learn life skills and engage in positive activities, including education, vocational skills and livelihoods training. The BNCE and UNICEF also try and reunite children with their families by providing family tracing and reunification services.
By July 2017, UNICEF and its partners had reunited 408 children released from the militias with their families or placed them in transitional care. At the transition centre, children learn how to make cakes.
The lives of hundreds of thousands of children and their families in Greater Kasai have been turned upside down by the brutal violence. For the children at the transition centre, participating here in a gardening course, the care and support they receive is crucial to reclaiming their lives.
To help UNICEF continue its efforts in helping former child solders transition to civilian life, click here.