This project provides educational support to former girl soldiers in the conflict-affected eastern provinces of Democratic Republic of Congo. We met these girls in 2016. They experienced rape and violence at the hands of armed groups. Yet now they have returned home, they face discrimination - if not outright rejection -from their families and communities. An education will help these girls be better accepted by their communities. Help us transform their lives by sending them back to school.
Many girls are abducted by armed groups in DR Congo. Others decide to join because they are unable to go to school. The life that awaits them in the bush is one of horror and suffering. Many were forced to commit violent acts. Most were systematically raped. Girls who've escaped are often branded as prostitutes when they come home. They're outcast and stigmatized, and their future compromised. Without better help, these girls risk a life of rejection - or even being re-recruited.
We will send these girls back to school so they can learn key life skills, regain confidence and participate in community life. Being accepted by family and community is essential if these girls are to find their place in society again, recover their psychosocial wellbeing and not be re-recruited by armed groups. The girls we met were clear: going back to school will help them regain community respect and access opportunities that will keep them safe and help give them a better future.
Through tailored educational support, former girl soldiers will be better equipped to reintegrate into, and contribute positively, to their communities. They will be less likely to be re-recruited by armed groups, or forced to pursue high-risk survival strategies like prostitution. In the long-term, the acceptance of these children will contribute to a safer and more cohesive society.