Twenty 11-year-old children from Ghana, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi celebrated Universal Children’s Day in Pretoria. The focus was on girl-child soldiers used in armed conflict on the continent as they are the most vulnerable and of great concern. This, amidst a call for a global ban on using child soldiers in war. At least 300 000 children are carrying rifles, waging wars in 30 conflict countries across the world, with at least two-thirds in Africa. They’re recruited by both government and rebel forces and are subjected to drugs, indoctrination and abuse.
Forty percent of child soldiers are girls who are also sexually exploited. The plight is on girl child soldiers, because they are exploited most. The Butterfly Effect Campaign’s Trisha Pillay says, “The plight is on girl-child soldiers, because they are exploited most. It’s a double jeopardy as they’re used as soldiers and sex slaves for those in power.”
The Butterfly Effect was also launched to create millions of child ambassadors across the globe – who will just like butterflies flutter into the world to campaign for the eradication of the use of child soldiers. A 11-year-old boy from Ghana is raising $13 million to help Somalia’s children with food, medicine, clothes and education.
Save Somali Children from Hunger project’s Andrew Adansi-Bonnah says, “It is not a good thing for kids to murder, they should be in school. Parents must take care of their kids and make sure they’re not used in war.”
It remains almost an impossible mission to access child-soldiers, but hopefully the new ambassadors will mobilise global co-operation to save them from the grips of war.