Discussion Guide for
Children of War
After viewing “Ugandan Children of War,” use this guide to research child soldiers, reflect on how the video impacted you, recall what you learned, respond in tangible ways, reach out with life-changing help, resolve to follow God’s Word, and rely on His goodness and power.
A C C O R DING T O UNIT ED NAT IO NS EST IMAT ES, a quarter million children
are involved in armed conflicts worldwide. They are exploited in state-run armies, paramilitaries, and rebel groups, serving as combatants, spies, suicide bombers, porters, human mine detectors, and sex slaves. Their health and lives are endangered and their childhoods sacrificed.
IN R E C E NT DEC A DES, experts estimate that more than 2 million children have
been killed in armed conflicts; an estimated 6 million have been seriously injured or permanently disabled. (Source: UNICEF, Children in Conflict and Emergencies) C H IL DR E N MO ST LIK ELY to be forced into military service include those who are:
• Separated from parents or caregivers • Living alone without a supportive adult • Living on the streets
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• From minority groups • Isolated or have limited social skills • Living in or near conflict zones
T H E DR IV IN G FA C T O R S for forced child soldier conscription include:
• Abduction and enticement by armed groups • Government complicity • Abundance of small arms and light weapons • Absence of work and education
C H IL D S O L DIER S MAY EXPER IENC E:
• General poor health (malnutrition and infectious diseases, including HIV) • Serious war injuries • Physical abuse or deprivation • Drug addiction • Sexual abuse and exploitation • Serious psychological and social problems • Unwanted pregnancy (particularly dangerous for girls who are often malnourished, physically immature, and living in unsanitary conditions • Death (Source: UNICEF, Children Associated with Armed Groups, May 2006)
Reflect B E F O R E WAT C H IN G T HE V IDEO and learning more about the causes and lasting effects
of child-soldier conscription, what did you know about child soldiers in Uganda? Has your understanding of the crisis changed?
W H Y DO Y O U T HINK T HE SUFFER ING in Uganda went largely unnoticed for so long?
Recall W H O W E R E T HE “NIGHT C O MMUT ER S”? Where did they go every night and why?
F O R O V E R 2 0 Y E A R S, Joseph Kony, leader of the rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army
(LRA), fueled his armies by kidnapping children and forcing their involvement in the civil war. Young girls were forced into sexual slavery, and cult-like versions of religious rituals were used to isolate and intimidate the children. What effect does such indoctrination and exposure to violence and abuse have on young boys and young girls?
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T H E C IV IL WA R T HAT R A GED for decades in Uganda resulted in nearly 2 million people
displaced, two generations of orphans, an AIDS crisis, and an estimated minimum of 30,000 children kidnapped by rebels and forced to commit atrocities. Children who escaped or were rescued from the LRA faced isolation, lasting effects of trauma, and difficulty in finding employment due to their lack of job skills. Recall from the film how the World Vision Uganda Children of War Rehabilitation Program worked to help former child soldiers cope and move forward. Why are such programs essential to children’s recovery and future?
Respond R E C A L L H O W C H I LD SO LDIER S and girls forced into sexual slavery are traumatized by
abuse and war and stigmatized by their families and communities. How can you amplify the voices of these children whose experiences have been largely invisible to the rest of the world? How can you work together to inform others and advocate on their behalf?
W H O S E S UF F E R ING A ND NEEDS are going unnoticed in your community? How can you
serve and love these people?
F L O R E N C E L A K O R , WO R LD V ISIO N UGA NDA STA FF MEMB ER , listens and responds
to the tragic stories of countless former child soldiers at the World Vision Uganda Children of War Rehabilitation Center. Is God calling you to be a listening ear and active servant for someone you know?
Reach Out Consider making a difference in the following ways:
P R AY F O R C HILDR EN IN UGA NDA and around the world who have been deeply
harmed by war, conflict, and isolation. B E C O M E A N A DV O C AT E. Increase awareness of the plight of child soldiers. Write
the president and your congressional representatives urging them to put high-level pressure on countries that exploit children in armed conflict. Advocate also for the allocation of more humanitarian assistance to rehabilitation programs and other needs of children affected by war. To learn more about child soldiers and how you can become an advocate, visit www.worldvisionresources.com and click on “programs and events.”
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S P O N S O R A C HILD T HR O UGH WO R LD V ISIO N. For just about a dollar a day,
you’ll provide your sponsored child with access to critical basics such as clean water, improved nutrition, healthcare, and education. Your gifts will help make a world of difference for your child and his or her family and community. For sponsorship information, visit www.worldvisionresources.com and click on the “sponsor a child” icon.
DE F E ND T H E C A USE O F T HE WEA K and fatherless; maintain the rights of the
poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. —Psalm 82:3-4
[T H E L O R D] R EST O R ES MY SO UL. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his
name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. —Psalm 23:3-4
Rely PRAY THAT:
GO D W IL L TR A NSFO R M T HE HEA RT S of those who force children to become
T H E L O R D’S R ESISTA NC E A R MY will be permanently disarmed and that lasting
T H E GL O BA L C O MMUNIT Y WILL PLA C E A HIGH PR IO R IT Y on freeing and
child soldiers. Pray also for those who are working to rescue and rehabilitate children who have been forced into armed conflict and subjected to abuse.
peace will settle over Uganda and affected neighboring countries. Pray too that the government will find ways to promote reconciliation within Ugandan society.
rehabilitating child soldiers throughout the world.
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About World Vision W O R L D V IS IO N is a Christian humanitarian organization
dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people. We see a world where each child experiences “fullness of life” as described in John 10:10. And we know this can be achieved only by addressing the problems of poverty and injustice in a holistic way. That’s how World Vision is unique: We bring 60 years of experience in three key areas needed to help children and families thrive: emergency relief, long-term development, and advocacy. And we bring all of our skills across many areas of expertise to each community we work in, enabling us to care for children’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Partnering with World Vision provides tangible ways to honor God and put faith into action. By working, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of children and families who are struggling to overcome poverty. To find out more about how you can help, visit www.worldvision.org.
About World Vision Resources E NDING GL O B A L PO V ERT Y and injustice begins with education:
understanding the magnitude and causes of poverty, its impact on human dignity, and our connection to those in need around the world. World Vision Resources is the publishing ministry of World Vision. World Vision Resources educates Christians about global poverty, inspires them to respond, and equips them with innovative resources to make a difference in the world.
For more information about our resources, contact: World Vision Resources Mail Stop 321 P.O. Box 9716 Federal Way, WA 98063-9716 Fax: 253-815-3340 firstname.lastname@example.org www.worldvisionresources.com
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