On Tuesday, August 7, 128 children and adolescents formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups will be released in a ceremony in Gbudue State, South Sudan. CMMB and its partners, including UNICEF, will be participating at event, along with several South Sudanese government officials. Among those present will be General Chaplain Khamis Edward (Ministry of Defense), Christopher Muchiri Murenga (UNMISS Yambio HoFO), Mahimbo Mdoe (UNICEF Country Representative), Hon. Obwaha Claude Akasha (Deputy Chairperson), and Hon. Grace Datiro (Deputy Governor Gbudue State). 

Our team on the ground will  support the children by helping find and reunify them with their families. We will also provide psychosocial care and referrals.

After the ceremony, the children will move into a transit center, where they will receive medical screening and continued psychosocial support. They will remain at the center for three months, and then, where possible, will be reunited with their families and begin to be reintegrated into their communities. Here, CMMB will take over psychosocial support as part of our child protection activities, including play therapy. Our child protection team previously worked with former child soldiers released in February and April.  

This ceremony comes after the release of hundreds of child soldiers on two previous occasions – this past February and April. Since the civil war began nearly five years ago, it is estimated that over 19,000 children have been recruited as child soldiers and robbed of their childhoods.

the ceremony releasing child soldiers

The most recent ceremony where child soldiers were released. Members of CMMB staff were present at this event.

CEO and President, Bruce visiting the child transit center

CEO and President, Bruce Wilkinson visiting the child transit center earlier this year.

As a key partner for child protection around Yambio, CMMB has played an active role in the overall reintegration process of former child soldiers, including disarmament, demobilization, and reunification of families. The reintegration process is slow and challenging. The horrors that so many of these children have faced require specialized support, patience, and time.

Former child soldiers participating in play therapy at the transit center.

Former child soldiers participating in play therapy at the transit center.

A young mother and her child

A young mother with her child at the transit center.

Play therapy taking place outside of the transit center and within the children's community.

play therapy for former child soldiers

Play therapy taking place outside of the transit center and within the children’s community.

Child Soldiers

The global commitment to end the use of children in armed conflict led to the release and reintegration of more than 5,000 children in 2017, but tens of thousands of boys and girls are still being recruited, kidnapped, and forced to fight or work for military groups or armed forces at “alarming rates” according to the United Nations.

About CMMB – Healthier Lives Worldwide

CMMB (Catholic Medical Mission Board) is a global humanitarian organization with more than 100 years of experience in delivering the best possible health solutions to women, children, and communities living in poverty. To learn more, visit cmmb.org.