Children changing destiny in Liberia
Liberia still bears the scars of the civil war that lasted from
1989 to 1997. One hundred and fifty thousand people were killed,
1 million people internally displaced and 666,000 Liberians were
driven from the country. Perhaps most horrifying, however, 15,000
children some as young as age six were trained as
soldiers. With so many lives stolen and the country's infrastructure
destroyed, there seemed little hope for the children of Liberia.
A group of determined girls in Liberia
Yet, somehow, the country has become stronger and its people
more determined. There is no better illustration than the children
themselves, who were once used as tools for destruction but who
now work diligently to improve their lot.
Sixteen-year-old Solomon is one example of a youth determined
to change his destiny. Once a member of one of the most feared
groups of boy soldiers, Solomon now participates in a UNICEF-supported
reintegration and life skills programme. Struggling to overcome
his tragic past, he explains, "I want to get the bad, bad
things out of my heart." Asked what he hopes for the future,
he replies in a soft voice, "I want to go back to school.
I want to be born again as a child."