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For the children abducted by armed groups in South Sudan, every day is filled with terror. Physically, mentally and sexually abused, surrounded by unspeakable brutality, those who are released — or able to escape — face a long road to recovery.
"I saw the most horrible things and they became my nightmares," one young survivor says. "At night, I'm still remembering what was happening." Abducted at age 10, she is now free and, with the help of her UNICEF-supported social worker, is working to forget the atrocities she witnessed and to find hope for a better future.
The UNICEF-supported rehabilitation program is a lifeline for children who have been caught up in the violence that has engulfed South Sudan, one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a child. Since 2013, UNICEF has supported the release and reintegration of 3,785 children associated with armed forces and armed groups in South Sudan.
"Since we met with my social worker, she has helped me in so many things, so that's why now I'm not dreaming anymore," says the young survivor, who was reunited with her grandmother through a family tracing program. "Now my life is good. I am making sandals to sell. Sometimes I cook, fetch water for my grandma. Then I go for choir practice at the church."
UNICEF child protection programs give children caught up in conflict the care and support they need to reclaim their lives and build a better future. Please donate.
Top photo: A child's hand is pressed against a UNICEF-supplied mosquito net in Bienythiang in Akoka county, Upper Nile state, South Sudan on October 23, 2020. © UNICEF/UN0360007/Naftalin