I am proud to be a member of the 2007 ThinkQuest International 19 & Under Team, which included me, David, Parth, and Tommy. This is a quick summary/teaser for our website, which can be found by clicking here
. Our site is Young Blood: Children of War
. I was responsible for the graphics and some of the content (solutions and the Rwanda and Myanmar dossiers).
The issue of the use of child soldiers is a tragic and pressing one. Please take the time to read this short summary of the extensive content on our website. Our website includes the following sub-sections: Country Dossiers (detailed descriptions of 20 countries using child soldiers), Causes, Impacts, Solutions, and Interaction/Media.
If you are interested in this issue, I suggest checking out the powerful documentary "Invisible Children," which tells of the use of child soldiers in Uganda. A special abridged version of this documentary is available for free viewing
on Google Video. I highly recommend watching, it will change your life.
Also, check out the book "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah. This biography is a moving account of a boy lost in Sierra Leone's civil war and then as a child soldier.
Amnesty International estimates that over 300,000 children are currently used by government
armies and militant groups to fight in some of the worlds more gruesome and deadly conflicts.
As soldiers, more than two million children have died in armed conflicts, leaving nearly six
million seriously injured and disabled.
Often after being drugged and brain-washed, children are used as minesweepers, guards, sex
slaves, cooks, port keepers, frontline warriors, suicide bombers, and participants in extrajudicial
executions. Many times children are forced to brutally abuse, murder, or rape other children or
members of their own family- all while being as young as six or seven years old.
Child soldiers are both forcefully recruited and willing volunteers. Some children are violently
tricked into joining an armed group, others join seeking revenge, an opportunity to rebel, or pay.
The proliferation of small arms, breakdown of family values, poverty, indoctrination, and civil
strife are major contributors to the use of child soldiers.
Recovering from the horrors of being a child soldiers is nearly unbearable for many children.
Most children suffer from acute diseases and disorders, including AIDS and Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder. Some children have no family left, while other childrens families shun them.
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration programs help rehabilitate children.
In order to eliminate the use of child soldiers, the problem must be addressed at multiple levels
by a variety of programs. It is important that the United Nations, national governments, non-
governmental organizations, and individuals all work together to help end the use of child
soldiers. Do your part.