Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection

By Michael Wessells | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

I wish to thank the Christian Children’s Fund, particularly Michelle Poulton, for having supported my writing, believing in the value of telling the story of child soldiers, and pioneering holistic, culturally grounded assistance that is bringing hope to former child soldiers and millions of children worldwide. 1 am indebted to Carlinda Monteiro and Davidson Jonah, global leaders in CCF’s child protection work, who taught me patiently about Angola and Sierra Leone, respectively. I also thank Randolph-Macon College for having granted me a leave of absence, providing much-needed space for humanitarian work and writing. I thank Columbia University for providing a warm and stimulating environment in which to complete this book.

In my field research, 1 was moved deeply by the stories and the kindness of the many children, youths, women, elders, community leaders, chiefs, and local healers who took time to talk with me. Their resilience and courage resonated in their songs and dances, not to mention their ability to thrive in very challenging circumstances. To them I owe an enormous debt of gratitude.

I am highly indebted also to the CCF national staff in different countries whose support made this work possible. Living themselves in difficult circumstances, they took time to teach me about the local culture and conflict situation and to organize everything from security to translation and food. Most important, they helped to support the community-based programs that brought relief to large numbers of children, including former child soldiers. Because each national office operates as a team, there are too many people to thank individually. In naming one person from each office, I intend to thank all the people in that office who helped me in countless ways. My thanks go to Dr. Feda Mohammed in Afghanistan; Carlinda Monteiro in Angola; Dr. Sami Rexhepi in Kosovo; Dan Kaindaneh in Sierra Leone; Dr. Sheila Zwane in South Africa; and Edward Nfulgani in Uganda. I also learned much about child

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Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Child Soldiers - From Violence to Protection iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • 1: Child Victims, Young Combatants 1
  • 2: Entry into Armed Groups 31
  • 3: Inside Armed Groups 57
  • 4: Girl Soldiers 85
  • 5: Health and HIV/AIDS 107
  • 6: The Invisible Wounds of War 126
  • 7: Putting Down the Gun 154
  • 8: The Transition to Civilian Life 181
  • 9: Community Reconciliation, Justice, and Protection 208
  • 10: Prevention 232
  • Reference Index 259
  • References 261
  • Index 277
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