So. Over the last few days its been difficult to be on Facebook / Twitter and not come across the KONY 2012 campaign. In case its new on you, its a campaign designed to stop Joseph Kony abducting children and using them as soldiers to gain power for himself in Uganda.
Now there is some confusion over how this campaign is ran, and about the people behind the campaign… Check out visiblechildren.tumblr.com for a fair amount of information.
But the important thing isn’t the campaign itself, but the fact that this sort of thing is happening. Therefore if you do feel compelled to do something, I’d suggest to sponsor War Child:
What is War Child doing?
We’re helping to get children out of army uniforms and into school ones.
War Child has worked with former child soldiers in Africa for many years. In Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) we’re currently helping to reintegrate former child soldiers back into society and into education.
Many child soldiers go through formal Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) programmes when they are free from the armed groups. These programmes tend to focus on the needs of boys but aren’t always so sensitive to the specific needs of girls. As a result, girls are often a very vulnerable and marginalised group even among children who are already excluded and rejected by society.
That’s why we’re focusing our work on girls who have been used as soldiers or their ‘wives’ in northern Uganda and eastern Congo.
We’re providing vital education, counselling and health services for girls – and helping to tackle the huge stigma associated with being a girl soldier. Whilst boys are considered to be dangerous and violent, girls are often seen as ‘damaged goods’ by their community and family. This is especially true if they have suffered a sexual assault or have given birth to a baby.
Picking up a gun again is often the easiest way of regaining the respect of their community. We’re enroling them into school and helping to reunify them with their families if that’s deemed to be the best solution. Some of the children find it hard to sit still in a classroom after enduring years of violence and constant relocation in the bush, so we’re also providing vocational and skills for independent living where appropriate.