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Give Back their Childhood…for 7 Dollars January 11, 2011

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in Childhood, Human Rights, Saving the World, Social Media.
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How much does it cost to give a kid back their childhood? Just $7.

“I knew this boy from before. We were from the same village. I refused to kill him, and they told me they would shoot me. They pointed a gun at me, so I had to do it. The boy was asking me, “Why are you doing this?” I said I had no choice.” Susan, a 16-year old girl

“As a soldier, I had 24-hour sentry watches and was forced to keep alert. The days were abusively hot, and I often scoured the hillsides many miles for firewood, split the wood, and worked the farms.  The nights in the mountain winds were freezing. It was then that the reality of my life often hit me and I would lie awake and cry with no blanket and little hope.” Sanan, a 9-year old boy

“The soldiers found me and put me in jail for deserting. For three or four days, I couldn’t eat or sleep.  The food was horrid.  The smell was worse.  We slept in our own feces.  I cried and screamed for mercy.  During the days, we were slave laborers with no sleep at night…I had been in jail just a little over a month when one of the staff from Project: AK-47 came and negotiated my release.” Neso

Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day (and to my delight “Trafficking Awareness” is currently a trending topic on Twitter!) One of the most horrific forms of human trafficking are the use of child soldiers, in which children as young as 5 are bought, lured or simply kidnapped into the army and forced to fight. Often young children, both boys and girls, are subjected to repeated rape and physical abuse. Those not forced to participate in armed combat (often younger children and girls) are assigned work in the army camps, forced to train in brutal conditions, or – considered expendable – sent to perform dangerous activities like spying or clearing mines. Their childhoods are stolen. It’s estimated that there are over 300,000 child soldiers active today.

Project AK-47 exists to give children like these their childhoods back. After negotiating their release from the army, they provide the children with housing, food, a quality education and a supportive, caring “family” to replace the one that they’ve lost. How much money does it cost to do this? Just $7 a month.

That’s right. $7 a month – less than the cost of two lattes – is the difference between an abused, terrified child forced to kill others and a happy, carefree child living a normal childhood. Though there are many worthy causes to support, that has got to be one of the best deals, in terms of results per dollar, that I can think of. (Which is why I’m sponsoring three – for the average cost of a single Chinese takeout meal a month.)

I urge everyone who reads this, and wants to do something real to combat human trafficking, to go to the Project AK-47 webpage and sponsor a child. Just do it. It’s probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make…and instead of one more killer, our world will have one more child who can live a normal childhood.

The Contrapuntal Platypus

Ten Reasons to Support Project AK-47

1. Maximum impact per dollar. When was the last time you could save, feed, house and educate a child for $7 a month?

2. There are over 300,000 child soldiers in our world today.

3. Project AK-47 negotiates child soldiers’ release, thus ensuring their safety after release and spreading awareness. (Often the army will freely let them go if they’ll be provided with education.)

4. Project AK-47 doesn’t move rescued children to another country, but rather gives them the tools they need to become the country’s next generation of leaders – putting an end to the cycles of violence responsible for child soldiers.

5. As child soldiers are often seen as expendable, they’ll be told to perform dangerous or lethal tasks such as mine clearance, spying or suicide attacks.

6. Project AK-47 doesn’t just rescue children from a life of combat and dangerous military duties, but from repeated physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

7. Though more people have become aware of human trafficking in recent years, few realize the extent to which children are used as soldiers in today’s world.

8. Buying and wearing a AK-47 dog tag inscribed with the name of a child soldier is an easy way you can help to raise awareness of this issue.

9. Think back to your own childhood…what price tag would you put on it?

10. And last but not least: no kid should be a killer.

Comments»

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