A legacy of conflict
The Lord’s Resistance Army war in northern Uganda lasted twenty years and led to nearly two million people being internally displaced for very long periods. Although the fighting in Uganda stopped over a decade ago, the majority of the people of the region continue to suffer the social, material and sometimes physical wounds inflicted by the conflict.
These take many forms: deeper and more widespread poverty than in most other parts of the country; damage to the social fabric resulting in high numbers of broken families; failure to reintegrate many former combatants; and the psychological harm to those who were forced to fight and who lost their families, especially children. Orphans and others, in particular former combatants and women used as sex slaves by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), are often rejected and marginalised by their extended families, as well as having been exposed to extreme experiences that have a lasting effect on their capacity to thrive. These effects sometimes now have impacts on the next generation, their children.
The Trust for Child Soldiers evolved out of earlier work and research in northern Uganda by one of the trustees, which led to an understanding of the specific needs of this vulnerable group, and of the issues involved in helping them.