Voices from the field

Voices from the field2022-12-14T16:11:47-05:00

From Sierra Leone to Colombia, Somalia and Afghanistan, every year, conflict affects the lives of tens of thousands of boys and girls.

They are forced to join army or armed movement, abducted, used and abused, fuelling wars that they have not created.

They are Yenny, Kabba, they are Khaled and Mohamed.

Here are some of their stories.

Meet Abdullah, who was recruited and used for the armed forces as a child. After he was released, he was treated differently by his friends and family and faced difficulties controlling his emotions. Through reintegration services, Abdullah received counseling and was able to enroll in school. Find an interview with him here.

Abba, part of the UNICEF and Search for Common Ground project

UNICEF (not a picture of Abdullah)

Meet Rajab Emad Said, a former child soldier from South Sudan who became a youth leader and peacemaker thanks to reintegration support provided by the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative. Read his story here.


Jean* from the Central African Republic was recruited and used as a child soldier, and after returning home, he was ostracized by friends and family. He raises the integral importance of reintegration for former child soldiers and the overall prevention of grave violations. Read more about his thoughts here.

*Name has been changed.

Abeo freed after being trapped in armed conflict


Meet Zinah, a young girl formerly associated with an armed group in the Central African Republic. War Child supported her reintegration into civilian life. Read her story here.

© UNICEF/Fouchard

Meet Kevin, Trauma Healing and Rehabilitation Officer at the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, Uganda. Read more about her work here.

© UNICEF/Keïta

Releasing children from the ranks of armed elements is essential, but it is only a first step. Providing children who have been formally released with adequate services is crucial. Read more about the reintegration of released children in South Sudan.

In Sudan, UNICEF-supported reintegration programmes provide former child soldiers with educational opportunities and psychosocial assistance, to allow for their sustainable reintegration in the communities. Read more about reintegration in Sudan.

South Sudan stands in 2018 as the newest country in the world; but it’s also among the youngest countries, with half of its population below the age of 18.
Listen to the voices of young people from South Sudan who are working to rebuild their country and hope for peace.

Kabba Williams, an ex-child soldier from Sierra Leone who became a human rights advocate, explains his journey from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.

Kabba was a speaker at an event on the reintegration of ex-child soldiers at the UN in New York in June 2018.

Hear the story of Yenny Londoño, an ex-child soldier from Colombia who became a human rights activist.

Yenny was invited to speak at the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict in New York on 9 July 2018. [Video in Spanish]

This is the story of James. The story of a lost childhood, and the trauma he endured as a child soldier in South Sudan.

But this is not the end of James’ story. One day, he had an opportunity to rebuild his life, and he now works as a child protection officer for the United Nations in South Sudan.

The story of James, child soldier at age 13, South Sudan. from UNMISS Media on Vimeo.

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