Child soldiers - Peace Direct

Child soldiers

It is estimated that 250,000 children are fighting in wars all over the world. Recruited by force or lured by the false promise of an escape from poverty. They are living a life no child should ever lead.

We support local people who rescue children from a life of killing. Taking them away from violence. Reuniting them with families. Giving them back their childhood.

Kakule Jaques, 14, lived with his family out in the bush.. He had three goats and was visiting his parents when on the way he met two people who told him they knew somewhere where he could feed his goats. It was a trick and he was taken off to join the Shabani militia. He spent a year and half with the Militia before making his escape. Through CRC he as aquired certification and a goat which has since given birth toa kid, further helping his rehabilitation into normal life. North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. July 2016. Photo by Greg Funnell.
Photo by Greg Funnell.

The facts


How many child soldiers are there?

250,000 children are thought to be involved in armed conflict. Some estimates put the figure as high as 300,000. It is thought that 40% of child soldiers are girls.

In which countries are child soldiers used?

Evidence suggests that child soldiers are active in at least 14 countries: Afghanistan, Burma, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, DR Congo, India, Iraq, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand and Yemen.

Why and how are child soldiers used?

Children are more easily manipulated than adult fighters. Many children will fight on the frontlines. Not all fight, they may be given jobs such as couriers. Girls are often forced into sexual slavery.

How are child soldiers recruited?

Many are recruited by force – stolen from their families and forced to fight. In some cases children are made to kill their relatives so they can never return home. Others join voluntarily, driven by poverty and the hope of a regular meal.


 Watch the video


Rescuing lost childhoods


Freddie's story

Freddie was just six years old when Congolese rebels took him from his village. Read more »

Muhindo's story

Muhindo was 3 years old when the Mai-Mai pillaged his village, stealing goats, chickens and other valuable items from his home in Eastern DR Congo.  Read more »

Masika's story

Masika is a 15 year old girl, who was forcibly recruited into an armed group at just 12 years old. For three years she was used as a sex slave. Read more »


How you can help


Donate now

£15 could support our local partner to trek into bush and negotiate with militia leaders to rescue one child soldier. Read more »


Host a coffee morning or dinner party and ask guests for a contribution to raise money for this urgent work. Read more »

Spread the word

Share one of the stories on social media to raise awareness. Read more »