7 Facts About Child Soldiers, including Children & Guns, A Poem
7 Facts About Child Soldiers:
- Today, hundreds of thousands of children under 18 years of age, serve in government forces, or armed rebel groups. Children as young as 8 years old have been reported.
- Both girls and boys are used as child soldiers. Children are used as combatants, messengers, guards, porters, cooks and for forced sexual services.
- Victims most likely to become child soldiers are poor, separated from their families, living in combat zone, and have limited access to education.
- Children are sometimes forced to kill their own families and neighbours, such practises help ensure the child is unable to return home.
- In some countries, former child soldiers have access to programmes for restoration and get them back into school. However many do not have access to support and are at risk of re-recruitment.
- In some conflicts girls & women may be raped, or given to military commanders as wives.
- During conflicts some children are abducted or recruited by force
For years, I was vaguely aware of child soldiers, however recently I came across a shocking image on a non-profit website called AK-47 Project. The image shown on a video slide depicts children lined up in military uniform. Being a mother of two young children...it was like a shot to the head! It actually moved me to write this hub in hope it will raise further awareness.
It was heart-drenching to learn that an estimate of 300,000 children, boys & girls under the age of 18 are today involved in more than 30 conflicts worldwide. In some countries such as Nepal, Sir Lanka and Uganda, a third of child soldiers were reported to be girls. In some conflicts girls were raped, or given to military commanders as wives/sex slaves.
There should be no weapons in the hands of children, It is disturbing to say the least. In fact a breach of international law. The ILO convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour prohibits the forced or compulsory recruitment of children under the age of 18, for use in armed conflicts. It has been agreed by over 150 countries. So, why are children still reported in armed conflicts?
Sadly, many children who live under the poverty line join armed groups because they believe the group will offer food and security. Moreover, in most cases many children are manipulated to join or simply abducted and forced to serve. This is known as a form of slavery.
Below is a poem featured "Children & Guns" which I recently wrote for poetry4freedom, a fun-raising Ebook project to help raise awareness of the many forms of slavery worldwide that exists today...please visit Poetry4Freedom if you would like to learn more or participate. Thankyou.
POEM: Children & Guns
Children caught up in a world of violence
There should not be young blood in sight
Instead been taught to use a pen
They`re trained to use a weapon
Children in fancy dress, not the case at all
To a poor child, how nice
New set of clothes and food to eat
Their lives in the commanders hand
Unaware of the blood shed ahead
Too young to understand, fragile children
Like snails, placed in public walkways
Their chance of survival slim.
Illiterate and immature
yet skilled in loading guns
No place to call home, family all shot dead
That`s how it works, children`s hands in the red
Their souls in turmoil, sprayed with black
Their minds filled with sand, blocked
They do not know what they do
Enslaved by rebel fighters, mistreated, used
Unprotected in the open fields
Terrified and paralyzed to hit and run
They remain a child soldier
Each life worth less than a grenade
The unthinkable, destructible,
Children trained to kill & torture
Commanders like hungry tigers
Will stop at nothing, obey or die!
Recruitors like fierce wolves
They use anything at their disposal:
Do you have arms & legs? (check)
Are you desperate & hungry? (check)
Displaced & nowhere to go? (check)
Well, take no chance, come join us
We will feed you, give you purpose!
Precious children put your guns down
Help is on it`s way, to get you back in school
Freedom will be yours someday, hope is on it`s way.
Copyright© 2012 Pearlmacb/Meg Nezaj. All rights reserved.
Children in a World of Violence!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Music For Freedom
The injustice against children has caused me to take another step in hope to make a difference and because I believe in the power of music, I have decided to set music to this poem and donate it to Music4Freedom; a project run by GlobalFreedomConcerts.
AK-47 Project is run by an non-profit organisation which are doing an incredible job rescuing child soldiers and helping at risk children. If you wish to help support this cause, visit www.justprojects.org (disclaimer: I do not work for this organisation nor recieve any incentives for mentioning their website.)