The familiar sound of gunshots is no more. The sky is clear and there are hardly any clouds of smoke coming from burning homesteads. Military trucks that protect our camps are reducing in number. And slowly by slowly the people are moving back to their villages. To start tilling the gardens that were a source of their livelihood. To rebuild their homes that were reduced to ashes. To mourn their sons and husbands that they will not see or hug no more. To clear the streets that once connected them to their happy community. Yes the war has ended yet i still feel like a war child
My father was taken from us to join the army, my beautiful teenage sister was taken to be a bush wife, my neighbor’s son was mutilated before all of us to make an example of all those who would try to resist recruitment, my village chief was shot to show that the rebels now had all the control, my mother is weak and feeble from all the pain and loss she has to live with. And yes i have to step up and be the provider because am now the man in the home. There is no room to feel sorry for myself, that’s what my culture dictates. Yes i am a war child
Little has been done to rehabilitate children who have been victims of war. Some have been fortunate enough to be reunited with their families while others have been left with no homes to go back to. These innocent minds have been exposed to unimaginable scenes, that the end of war doesn’t mean the end of war within their minds.
Young girls have been raped living them exposed to diseases and some ending up becoming young mothers to children whose fathers they will never know. The boys have been subjected to physical abuse and torture as they are being forcefully recruited into the army. Many families have lost their loved ones to numerous ambushes, loved ones they never get a chance to mourn, while those who survive the ambushes are left in a very sorry physical state (like the war in northern Uganda where people were amputated and mutilated). Many households end up being headed by children.
So much needs to be done to stop the wars in these children’s lives even after the war has physically ended. How do we do it? Provide counselling services to the children; having to nurse a child out of rape is not the easiest thing to deal with neither is getting past the flashing images of your father and brothers being forcefully taken away from you. Offer free medical care and testing to the children especially those who have been sexually abused. Provide education and training for these children so that there is hope for them in the near future
“Protect the Rights of Children”