Child Soldiers

by Alex Lynn, age 13
Child Soldiers

“A massive barrier and issue during the Sudanese war for education was the unique and brutal recruitment of child soldiers. Many children who were still in school, during this civil war, were separated from their tribes and families. Some young children were forced to be child soldiers to aid the war efforts in many ways like cooking, fighting, prostitution, and shields for the adult soldiers.”

There are barriers that just altogether shun certain people from getting into school. Sexism (mainly women), disabilities, poverty, and “lowly families,” “with not much family importance.” Education is vital, but recruiting children can completely mess up a child’s education. Also, a country that does not have many schools and a place on the middle of the battlefield does not help.

A massive barrier and issue during the Sudanese war for education was the unique and brutal recruitment of child soldiers. Many children who were still in school, during this civil war, were separated from their tribes and families. Some young children were forced to be child soldiers to aid the war efforts in many ways like cooking, fighting, prostitution, and shields for the adult soldiers. The future of Sudan is unstable due to this cruel and brutal recruitment.

This is a massive issue that is unique to Africa, and specifically Sudan, in the civil war against South Sudan. Almost nowhere else in the world currently has the recruitment of child soldiers. During the Sudanese civil war, there were approximately 15,000-16,000 children that were recruited, forced or not forced in the experiment of using children to aid the war effort. Children were treated brutally and many died. During the war, children never left the tribe, in fear of being attacked or forcefully recruited into the forces. The fear many families had were about what might happen to their children while they were at school. A majority of children were kidnapped and forced to be soldiers when they were coming home from school. Families live in fear, which is an invisible but powerful boundary that makes people keep their children at home.

In the case of a child soldier story in Sudan, there was tragedy for a young kid named John Yaak. In 1987, John’s home was raided by soldiers. They kidnapped John and forced him to fight in the civil war at just the age of nine. Given a gun and orders, he trekked all around Sudan, fighting in a war full of bloodshed. When he was in his fourth year of combat, uninjured, he was shot in the shoulder with a bullet, relieving him from service as he was rushed to the hospital. John is still very traumatized by his past and horrified by the idea of child soldiers. He currently lives in Australia, working as an Uber driver. He works this job so he can send money back to Sudan to help abolish the recruitment of children once and for all. Due to these horrible experiences, almost all of these kids have had some sort of form of PTSD. John’s experience in the army affected his life completely.

Issues from being a soldier in the army, when you are not of age, can lead to many psychological and physical impacts that can affect education in many ways. After a child has gone through a war, they may have gained many injuries due to weapon conflicts. Also, they suffer from illnesses or diseases. War can result in loss of hearing and sight. These physical impacts make it hard to get educated. Studies have shown that children who have been rescued compared to those who were in army recruitment had many psychological impacts, which include social withdrawal, suicidal behavior, loss of trust, and excessive guilt. All of these effects from war trauma are mostly related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that can affect one’s personality and mindset. Another part of these symptoms is that the kids have trouble finding confidence in catching up with all their peers in education. This is an issue for the next generation because children will get in the mindset that they are never going to catch up with their peers, making them give up too easily. Most of the kids that experience this mindset end up dropping out of school. These effects leave a major impact on people.

Effects from being a soldier previously is a massive issue. The impacts are so huge, it can completely alter someone for the rest of their life, due to such a young and susceptible age. These young children are the next generation’s leaders but, with such trauma at a young age, it stunts their education and social skills. The entire generation is affected because of this. The generation should grow up being curious to motivate themselves and push the boundaries of knowledge and innovation. Instead, they live and grow up in fear. This leads to a country full of people who do not trust each other and do not work together. With each person on his or her own, it leads to a massive issue. If an entire country cannot work together, they cannot overcome any massive issues.

Child soldiers are currently a major issue that occurs in Sudan, where recruitment is common for war. Recruitment is unique to countries like Sudan. The massive recruitment of children during the Sudanese war had not only impacted the children, but the entire future of Sudan. Being a soldier as a child affects your mental, physical, and social skills. It also affects your likeliness of receiving an education due to the fear of getting drafted and getting attacked while you are at school. This issue is very problematic. These effects (like PTSD) are impacting the country’s next generation and their leaders. Many children in Sudan are still experiencing this type of brain trauma from recruitment. The future generations of Sudan are at risk, both mentally and physically, due to child soldiers.

 

Works Cited

“A Generation Made to Fight: Saving South Sudan’s Child Soldiers.” UNICEF USA. N.p., 28 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 June 2017.

Josh Hanrahan For Daily Mail Australia. “Australia’s Most Inspirational Uber Driver: Child Soldier Who Fled Poverty in Sudan for Australia Uses the Money He Earns Ride Sharing to Stop Kids in His Homeland from Being Killed in War.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 28 June 2017. Web. 30 June 2017.

“Psychological Impacts.” Child Soldiers. N.p., 03 Dec. 2012. Web. 30 June 2017.

“10 Barriers to Education around the World.” Global Citizen. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2017.

 

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