As we drive the bumpy unmade road up to the open gates, facing us are eight women in two lines, enthusiastically dancing and singing, one waving a green leaf and branch.
How do you heal a child who was forced to tear their friend apart with their own bare hands? How do you heal a child who has been made to throw numerous grenades before they were taught how to count them?
I met Mark Avola on my first trip to northern Uganda in 2009. I had already read several articles he had written about his work with the World Vision reception centre outlining the need for a more comprehensive and long-term response.
Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough… they need your hearts to love them. Mother Teresa
What does education mean to an ex-child soldier who was abducted at the age of five? Some return from war, desperate to learn and are prepared to sit at the back of Primary School classrooms to get the qualifications they need in order to find work.
When the ground is cleared to start the foundations of a Living Circle, the hard earth must first feel the full force of the pickaxe.
Preparing for the ex-child soldiers to arrive involves more than just building the centre – it involves building a community. We are working to develop a dynamic structure of equals because the strength of the relationships is as important as the solidity of the walls.
Child soldiers should be the simplest of all simple issues to solve. There are no arguments in favour of using children as soldiers.