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Sunday, October 9, 2011


Caught in global act and consequences of conflict and War — 300,000 children forced to soldier in more than thirty armed conflicts throughout the world. The practice of kidnapping — forceful recruitment of — children has occurred in more than 20 nations.
Re-reported, edited by Carolyn Bennett

The Lord’s Resistance Army in a 20-year period abducted and created killers of children to assist “rebels.” Estimates in 2010 reported the LRA had victimized 35,000 Ugandan children for their purposes.

“There are so many children unaccounted for. We want these children back home,” says the executive director and founder of Children of Peace Uganda. In “Making it Right,” the latest theme on the Radio Netherlands Worldwide program “The State We’re in,” one segment focused on child soldiers and the experience of Jane Ekayu.
Jane Ekayu

Ugandan Jane Ekayu was abducted and a “child soldier.” She became a trauma counselor and rescuer of child soldiers then creator of Children of Peace Uganda with the mission of promoting peace, human security and development for formerly abducted children and youth, children born in captivity and vulnerable people in society.

Adults subject abducted children to torture, says Jane Ekayu. “I’m talking about children who were abducted at the age of 5 or 6 and lived in captivity for 10 years,” she says. “All they know is what the rebels indoctrinated them into.”

These children trust no one, so “we have to build trust — that’s the first thing.” It is the responsibility of the counselor to make the child know it was not right for the rebels to abduct them.”

After the center where Jane Ekayu began working with child soldiers closed in 2006 — it had helped more than 2,500 young people return to their families and communities — she continued her work with similar organizations in Uganda. As founder and executive director of Children of Peace Uganda, Jane Ekayu has been an international spokesperson on the issues of child soldiering and war trauma recovery. She has captivated audiences at the UN General Assembly Hall, the International Criminal Court, the ICC Review Conference, the Amnesty International Film Festival and others.

More than 300,000 children, some as young as 5 years old, participate in more than 30 armed conflicts throughout the world. This is a grave violation of international and local laws.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) defines child soldier as “any child (girl or boy) under the age of 18, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group — including but not limited to combatants, cooks, porters, messengers, and anyone accompanying such groups other than as family members.” In UNICEF’s definition are “girls and boys recruited for sexual purposes or forced marriage.”

The practice of kidnapping (forceful recruitment of) children has occurred in more than 20 nations.

Government forces, rebel groups, and guerrilla armies use “child soldiers” because these children are psychologically and physically immature and can be easily manipulated, making them obedient, cheap, and disposable. Appearing less threatening because of their age, these victim children “can be used to confuse an adversary or to serve as informants.”

Some 66,000 children and youth, according to a 2007 World Bank report, were thought to have been forcibly abducted and recruited into Uganda’s rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in its two-decade long insurgency in the northern region, The report Confirmed —

Two-thirds of the children severely beaten
A fifth forced to kill
Nearly 10 percent forced to murder a family member or friend to bind them to the group

Children abducted were more than three times as likely to have a serious physical injury or illness that impedes their ability to work.

They were twice as likely to report difficulties in family and community relations. They have several years less education and they are twice as likely to be illiterate.

 These concerns and the film
“Children of War” (by Bryan Single) prompted the establishment of  Children of Peace (CPU) “to take Formerly Abducted Children (FAC) and Children Born in Captivity (CBC); and through Trauma Counseling, Advocacy for Human Rights, Health Care, Quality Education and Income Generating Projects, Rehabilitate them into Children of Peace.”

Sources and notes

Children of War, The State We're In - Making it Right, On air: 8 October 2011 2:00, http://www.rnw.nl/english/radioshow/making-it-right, http://cpuganda.wordpress.com/
Abduction: Jane Ekayu is a therapist who works with former child soldiers in Uganda – children who were forcibly conscripted into the Lord’s Resistance Army. Jane talks about the abuses the children suffered and the time the kids confronted a former LRA leader at the rehabilitation centre where she worked.

Reunion: Jane Ekayu tells show host Jonathan Groubert about the incredible reunion one former boy soldier had with his family who thought he was dead, and the other touchstone moments that drive her to do this difficult work

Jane Ekayu’s credentials

In addition to her position as founder and executive director of Children of Peace Uganda (Lira Uganda, March 2011-), Jane Ekayu holds other positions: Executive Director, Children of peace Uganda; Head of Department, Social Work, Adina Foundation Uganda, Lira, Uganda. (Jan 2010-May 2011); Program Assistant, Orphans and other Vulnerable Children, Pathfinder International, Kampala, Uganda (Feb 2009-May 2009); Resettlement Officer, Child Restoration Outreach, Lira, Uganda (Nov 2007-Dec 2008); Social Worker (Majoring in trauma therapy), Rachele Rehabilitation Centre Lira, Sponsoring Children Uganda (March 2004- Dec 2006); Education Assistant, Lira District Local Government. (Nov 1999- Feb 2003)

Academic credentials: Bachelor of Arts, Democracy and Development study (Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi, Mpigi, Uganda); Diploma in Gender and Development (Nsamizi Training Institute of Social Development, Mpigi, Uganda, 2003-2005); Teaching Certificate (Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo, Uganda, 1997-1999),   http://cpuganda.wordpress.com/cpu-board-and-staff/

“Counselor for child soldiers, featured in film, discusses her work in Uganda, ‘Children of War’ screened at UN,” 2010, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/uganda_56484.html

Children of Peace Uganda’s vision is “a society where there is dignity, equal opportunities, fair treatment and the protection of the rights of all Formerly Abducted Children/youth, Children born in Captivity and vulnerable people for sustainable development

Its mission: “To promote peace, human security and development for Formerly Abducted Children/youth, Children born in Captivity and vulnerable people in society”

Its project goal: To rebuild the capacity of FAC through a comprehensive approach to meet their educational and livelihood needs hence improve on their standard of living by 85% by the end of the program.

Its strategic objectives: to provide Health care support to the FAC/Y and CBC; to provide psycho-social support to the FAC/youth and Children born in captivity; to support educational needs of FAC/youth and other Children born in captivity; to support Families of FAC/youth with Income Generating Projects; to protect the rights of the FAC/Y, CBC and other vulnerable children; to provide psychosocial support services to formerly abducted children/youth (FAC/Y) and children born in captivity (CBC)

Contact: Tel: + 256 775 133 637 / +256 712 459933 jnekayulwa@gmail.com childrenofpeaceug@gmail.com; Children of peace Uganda - CPU
Web: www.childrenofpeaceuganda.org; Blog: http://cpuganda.wordpress.com © CPU 2011
Children of peace Uganda (CPU). Plot 4 Nubi Road, Junior Quarters, Adyel Division, P.O. Box 1037 Lira Uganda; Email: childrenofpeaceug@gmail.com
Tel:+256775133637 / +256712459933; Email: jnekayulwa@gmail.com;   http://cpuganda.wordpress.com/contact-us/


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY];  Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm:
http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire


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