The Child Soldier: Our Writing
Giving Voice to Youth Affected by War


An Appeal for Help
by Jane Peters, a student of the Saint Joseph's Secondary School Freetown, Sierra Leone

My name is Jane Peters and I am a 14 year student of the Saint Joseph's
Convent Secondary School In Freetown and I am in form IV. I am doing
accounting because I would like to be an Accountant in the future. Of course I
am a member of I*EARN in Sierra Leone headed by Andrew Greene. I have got an
experience about Child Soldiers that I want to share with you.

In Sierra Leone when the rebels attack towns and villages, they capture
children some at the age of seven, six and below. train them up by giving
them arms aand other cocaine, drugs so they will behave like animals and
later on they would be asked to go and attack other areas in the country. I
tell you, children at this ages when given cocain and arms are very very
dangerous, more than their elders because they don't think twice. They are
even very fast in killing people, burning houses and destroying properties.
Most times, they are given the most dangerous names by their elder or
colleaugue like 'The Killer, 'Captain Cut-Hand', Major cut-throat,
Lieutenant (Leftenant 'Burn Hose' (meaning Burn House) 'Ambush Commander',and
many other such dangerous names. Of course these fearful names are given
because of these children role in the war. This make the child soldier feel
proud and believe they have power. They don't know any longer who is older
then them,

These children suffer a lot because they are always sent in front when ever
an attack take place, and there many of them who loose their lives by the
other opponent. Their elders stay behind, many ocassion. Some of them while
in the bush become malnurish, sick and so many others die easily because of
lack of good food and shelter especially during the rains. Many come to face
dangerous animals like snakes that bite them to death. The parents of these
children are always crying because they have lost some of their children and
their good features have been destroyed. Infact so many ex-child soldiers
today are four times older in look than they should actually be. When the
girls in particular are captured and conscript they are first cruelly rape
before drugged. Some are seized by adult male rebels to serve as wives. I
narrowly escaped the rebels in 1997 and 1999 when they shot their way
through the city.

As a child who have live through war for 10 years, I know how my parents
could have felt if I was abduct or taken to bush. I sympathize with the
parents of these children beacuse of this and I am always against the use of
children in armed conflicts. By doing this the future of this good children
will be spoiled.

So we are please appealing to the United Nations ECOWAS and all other
organizations with the help of God to please help to stop those who use we
the children as soldiers in armed conflicts and also help the children to
find their parents because some are very eager to know about their parents
as well as their parents are eager to know about them

Yours faithfully,
Jane Peters


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The History of The Child Soldier Project

A Telecollaborative Project Between iEARN-Canada and iEARN-Sierra Leone