“Today, conflicts are more frequent. More violent. And longer lasting. And children pay the highest price. Their lives are a waking nightmare (UN 2018).”
In a recent intervention at Omarate in South Ethiopia, SCCRR-Shalom visited children who are victims of the ongoing conflict between pastoral communities in the region. As young children, they have seen the ferocious violence which has made them orphaned, displaced and facing a dangerous future. As in many conflicts across the world, humanity often turns a blind eye to this suffering and neglect, refusing to listen to the cry of the innocent children. In the face of all this, SCCRR-Shalom found these children resilient and determined to do all they can to achieve a better future of hope and
The young children are being accommodated in makeshift buildings, akin to stables through the goodness of the local mission. They are up early in the morning preparing themselves to attend the local school, returning later in the day to study, cooking their evening meals and preparing for the next day. They sleep on the hard floors of their dormitory and study in the fainting light.
A new day dawns and they repeat their routine. But these children have seen a bright star and are making choices to commit themselves to their school work. They believe in themselves, envisioning a future where they will live in peace with their neighbours.
As there are shortages of food in the region, SCCRR-Shalom immediately began to provide food for the children and developing plans to supply beds, desks, solar lighting for their dormitory and study room. SCCRR-Shalom is with them and has committed itself to the peoples of this conflict environment where children should not suffer. The future will get brighter and SCCRR-Shalom thanks to its world-wide support base, in and outside Africa, will ensure this.
In conflict environments across the world, thousands of children are killed, maimed or displaced, humanity’s failure is clear. Too many children find that basic human rights to a home, schools, hospitals, and other essential services being denied or attacked. In such circumstances many children are forced to leave school and may never return. Children have memories of distressing experiences which may well have long-term repercussions and affect their whole lives. This is morally wrong. We must never accept attacks on children as the new normal.
The world needs to do more to ensure protection of children from and in these conflicts – safeguarding their lives and continuing to protect their dreams to live out their lives as children.
SCCRR-Shalom will never rest and will continue to work for a better future for all peoples in conflict and underdevelopment environments especially the most vulnerable. The children of the Ilemi Triangle will one day sing a joyful song of peace to all nations. We can all accompany them; now is our time
By: Austin Ngacha Macharia, M.A
WISHING YOU A PEACEFUL AND HAPPY CHRISTMAS SEASON!