We have just received news from the field announcing the successful release of 23 child soldiers in DR Congo. We have been working tirelessly over the past week to ensure their safe release and return. The 23 child soldiers have now been returned to their communities and are currently undertaking training programmes to learn skills such as carpentry, mechanics and brick-making. We are in contact with our local partners on the ground and are waiting for further updates on their situation.
12 more child soldiers have been released from another militia group and are waiting to be returned to their homes and given the vital support they need. We are using the small funds we have to support these children and ensure they can reintegrate into the community. We are not sure we will have enough.
Securing the release of child soldiers is a dangerous and complex process. Negotiating with militia leaders takes time. It is common to face setbacks and to have to try new approaches. Involving the community in the return of the child soldiers is crucial, as fearful locals can sometimes reject the returning children. This is why our approach of working with local organisations is successful, as they have the expertise to understand the local dynamics of conflict and peacebuilding.
In war-torn DR Congo, it is crucial that we continue our work providing alternatives to life in militia groups. There can be no long-term peace if all the next generation knows is conflict and violence. We work tirelessly in order to celebrate moments like these, the opportunity to change 23 young lives. To all of you who have supported our work rescuing and resettling child soldiers in the DR Congo, thank you. This is the incredible difference we can make together.