Reintegration of War-affected Children and Youth
The work of SOS Children's Villages Uganda in Gulu was started as an effort to mitigate the impact of the eighteen-year conflict in Northern Uganda that has left many children in desperate family situations. The SOS programme in Gulu since 2002 has been to address specifically identified needs of orphaned and traumatised children currently living in vulnerable situations. Many of these children have been adversely affected by other factors associated with the conflict in the north namely: sexual abuse, unwanted pregnancies, forced marriages, child labour, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and labelling. Many lack any form of opportunities through which to cope with their situation. The girl child, particularly those under eighteen, having been exposed to the ruthless conduct of the Lords Resistance Army soldiers, have very few options on their return from captivity. The stigma and discrimination that many of the formerly abducted children or their off springs face on return to their communities is also a major problem in the reintegration.
This project offers psychosocial care as well as recreational activities and vocational training for the affected youth to help them settle in their communities and families. The vocational training focuses on agriculture and farming skills and aims at developing them as income generating as well as food-securing activities. Furthermore these newly acquired skills for the youth who never had the opportunity to live in a 'normal' agricultural setting but only know the life in the bush or in the IDP-camps will enable them to be self-supporting, better welcomed by their families and with the end to the war self-sustaining upon return to their villages.
In addition sensitisation and awareness campaigns will be carried out to educate the local authorities to solicit their support. In order to increase the local problem solving capacity community volunteers and peer-group leaders will be trained in relevant skills.