International Christian charity Jubilee Action has announced the opening of a new centre to rehabilitate child soldiers in northern Uganda.
More than 25,000 children were abducted by the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army and forced to become child soldiers and sex slaves throughout its decades-long rebellion against the Ugandan government.
The group mainly terrorised communities in northern Uganda, burning and looting villages, and murdering and raping the local Acholi people. A precarious peace is in place today, but many survivors remain traumatised by their experiences from the brutal war.
In response to the need, Jubilee Action is planning to build a new youth centre in Patongo, a town in the war-ravaged Pader district of northern Uganda and home to some 10,000 internally displaced people, mainly children.
According to the charity, some 49 per cent of the people in Pader district were abducted by the LRA, and 85 per cent had a family member who was killed in the violence. Patongo has been described as “the worst part of the worst district in the most neglected part of Uganda”, said Jubilee Action.
The youth centre will provide counselling to children who were abducted and workshops to help the community accept former child soldiers back into their midst. It will also provide education to help the children catch up the years of lost schooling.
The charity said on its website: “These children face serious challenges living with the daily trauma of what they have been through.”
Jubilee Action to open new centre for child soldiers in Uganda
Published 09 May 2009 | Charles Boyd