A ‘Child Soldier’ is any boy or girl, under the age of 18, who is forced to join and operate within an armed force or armed group in any capacity. It does not only refer to a child who is carrying, or has carried, weapons.
An estimated 250,000 children under the age of 18 are involved in over 30 conflicts worldwide, according to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, UNICEF.
Almost haf of the number of child soldiers come from Africa. Children that are orphaned or abandonded due to AIDS, violence or neglect are the most vulnerable in being recruited as child soldiers.
SOS Children's Villages engages in rehabilitation programs and family reunification for former child soldiers. SOS offers various forms of support to strengthen and stabilize families as much as possible so that children can grow up in their own families and not be succeptible for recruitment as child soldiers.
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