Why We Care
“Girls are particularly affected by the increasing use of sexual violence as a weapon of war."The impact of armed conflict on children
Armed conflict is bad. We all know this. However, even more devastating are sustained conflicts which in addition to the loss of life include the damaging effects of sexual violence, displaced people, cultural and societal breakdowns, loss of land and livelihoods, and dependency on aid.
What we don’t often consider is the traumatic effects of war on the mind and heart. People become emotionally and psychologically broken which leads to depression, feelings of impotence, alcoholism, rage, domestic violence, and suicide.
Northern Uganda had the longest running war in Africa, and Congo is still the most lethal conflict since World War II having intermittent fighting since 1978.
As northern Uganda moves from “aid” to “development” much of the focus is on infrastructure: roads, electricity, jobs, etc. We believe this is not the most important part of the peace-building process.
New roads do not stop a depressed man from taking his life out of depression. Electricity does not keep a man from beating his wife and kids.
Money from aid, jobs, or loans does not put children in school if its siphoned off to feed a father’s addiction.
Out of armed conflict and the poverty it brings, often springs another deadly injustice: human trafficking and the sex trade.
Often the cycle of war continues because issues of the heart were never adressed. If development is to be succesful, then the people must work through the emotional and heart issues first. We must join together to end injustice and lend a hand in the healing process.Learn more about our programs >
In northern Uganda more than 60,000 children were abducted, indoctrinated, forced to kill, and used as sex slaves by the Lord's Resistance Army during a 23 year long civil war. Many girls who were abducted became pregnant with children from the bush and these "child mothers," were ostracized by their communities. Thousands of people were forced into IDP camps and lost their ability to farm and earn their livelihoods. While the war has ended, it left devastating effects on the region including a rise in prostitution due to poverty, alcoholism, domestic violence, and a break-down of the family structure leaving many orphans and street children.Learn more about our programs >
During the conflict in Congo, many girls fled due to fear of death and sexual violence. Forty-eight women are raped in Congo every hour. Many were also trafficked into Uganda where they fell into prostitution as their only means of survival. These refugees were often cut off from the local community and considered outcasts, until we began reaching out to them.
War and sexual violence require a response which is loving and offers healing counseling in order to break these cycles and ensure peace and healthy futures.Learn more about our programs >
Today, there are 27 million slaves -- more than at any point in human history -- and over 50% are children who are exploited in the most gruesome ways imaginable.
- Of the 300,000 child soldiers around the world, 120,000 are estimated to be girls
- 10 million children worldwide are engaged in some facet of the sex industry
- Each year at least one million children, mostly girls, become prostitutes
- The average age of victims is 11-14
- Girls as young as 13 are peddling their bodies for as low as $1 per act in Gulu.