The Independent | Child Soldiers

Child Soldiers Appeal

The Central African Republic is one of the world’s poorest and most unstable countries. It is preyed on by armed militias and criminal gangs who fight among themselves for control of its diamond deposits.

In 2012 The Independent highlighted the impact this had on the country’s children, thousands of whom are taken from their homes and brainwashed into becoming child soldiers.

Working with UNICEF, more than quarter of a million pounds was raised to finance rehabilitation centres in the country’s capital Bangui where former child soldiers could be given psychological care to recover from their ordeals.

This centres proved even more essential the following year when an armed coup resulted in the central government collapsing and a surge in sectarian violence. Hundreds of children have now been helped by the centres, with their vital work continuing to this day.

For more information about UNICEF and its work helping vulnerable children go to:

Latest News

The battle to instil hope:

Child soldiers are brainwashed and brutalised, it's a challenge for them to find peace

Ralph Fiennes:

Child soldiers are across Africa are separated from their families, but I've seen how Unicef can reunite them

Join us!:

These stars have supported our campaign for child soldiers

A new chance:

Self sufficiency is the final stage in rehabilitation for child soldiers

Where there's hope:

Life after horror for ex child soldiers

Children in a world of guns:

The horror ex-child soldiers have seen, and how to repair the damage

Why we have to stay and help:

Rebel advance makes Unicef's work all the more important

Ewan McGregor:

We must help the children of war

Mia Farrow:

Child soldiers can have hope in spite of the horror they've seen

On the run with the rebels:

How your donations have helped

Helping killers choose life:

Meet the women giving child soldiers a new start

Manchester United:

World's biggest club backs our campaign for child soldiers

Child soldiers at Christmas:

Unicef are doing everything they can to give former child soldiers a proper celebration

Robbie Williams:

'We've seen your money in action--and it works'

'What will become of me without weapons?':

Former child soldiers speak out

Freed from sex slavery:

The women making new lives after being freed from the Lord's Resistance Army

The long road to recovery:

How Unicef is giving former child soldiers a fresh start

James Nesbitt:

They have been forced to do things no one should do

Evgeny Lebedev:

Why we need to talk about child soldiers

Ishmael Beah:

'Killing became as easy as drinking water. I will never be able to forget.'

David Puttnam:

I support this appeal because I have seen how charity brings hope to children forced to kill

Pictures from hell:

The revealing drawings of children rescued from war

Free, but not safe:

The former child soldiers forced to flee rebel surge

Martin Bell:

Why Unicef does no more valuable work than when helping Africa's child soldiers

Evgeny Lebedev:

Fighting to give new hope to the children of war

Ewan Mcgregor:

Help Unicef give child soldiers another chance

A childhood violated:

A special report to open this year's Christmas appeal

Evgeny Lebedev introduces the campaign:

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