- In Sierra Leone, a brutal civil war raged from 1991 to 2002, during which thousands of children were recruited as soldiers by various armed groups. These children were subjected to horrific abuse and exploitation, and many were forced to commit atrocities themselves.
- After the war ended, UNICEF worked with the Sierra Leonean government and non-governmental organisations to help reintegrate child soldiers back into society.
- Initiatives as a part of the reintegration included providing psychological support and counselling to help children cope with the trauma they had experienced, as well as education and vocational training to help them build a better future.
- UNICEF established “Interim Care Centers” (ICCs) to provide a safe environment for child soldiers who had been separated from armed groups. Food, shelter, healthcare and education were provided to the children in these shelters.
- To help the child soldiers return to their communities and rebuild their lives, the “Demobilization and Reintegration” program was initiated, which supported basic needs such as housing and food, as well as access to education, vocational training, and psychosocial support.
Extract from Legal Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2009 Board of Studies NSW.