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SOS Child Soldier : Uganda project


cleansing and forgiveness ceremony

SOS Children started a children in conflict (child soldier) programme in Gulu (Northern Uganda) in 2002. The programme targets Ugandan babies and children whose lives have been devastated by the ongoing civil war, including former "lord's Resistance Army" child soldiers, abandoned children born to mothers in captivity, abducted and sexually abused girls with their babies, AIDS orphans and children whose parents have been killed in the conflict. A particular target in the programme is re-uniting former child soldiers with their families and helping them come to terms with what they have been through. This involves helping communities to understand that the children themselves are not really to blame, even when they have committed atrocities. Here is a picture of a special cleansing and forgiveness ceremony, which helps to re-introduce child soldiers into their old communities.

All of the children are provided with basic necessities, food, clothing, shelter in dormitories and tents and medical and psychological support. If possible the children will be reunited with their families and receive ongoing assistance such as schooling, medical support and access to psychological help. Orphans, children whose relatives cannot be found or whose community refuses to reintegrate them, will receive long-term family based care in an SOS Children’s communuity. Currently nine carers are living with 117 children in a temporary village in Gulu, northern Uganda. A permanent community will be built as a long-term solution.

Background: SOS Children in Uganda. SOS Children first entered Uganda in the aftermath of the 1985 war, which particularly affected children in the Luwero Triangle. SOS Children's first community was in Kakiri, a small village not far from the capital Kampala. As well as a community for orphans, SOS Children established a kindergarten, a primary and secondary school and a medical centre.

The demand for social facilities for orphans is great, not least of all due to the growing Aids pandemic, and consequently the second SOS Children's Village was established in Entebbe, Uganda. This made SOS Children not only well placed to start the current programme but with a deep understanding of the best long term solutions in the area.

Sponsor a child in Uganda.

Relevant Countries: Uganda.

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