TCAF works with children in Northern Uganda, in an area known as Acholiland. Acholiland comprises approximately 11,000 square miles and was the epicenter of a brutal 20-year civil war between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The war has thankfully subsided in recent years, but the devastated region continues to struggle in the aftermath. Hunger and disease, including AIDS, continue to claim lives, and the region’s orphaned children have been left neglected, orphaned, and in extreme poverty.

orphaned children

The War, LRA, and Child Soldiers

orphaned childrenDuring the war, LRA rebels (led by Joseph Kony) abducted children as young as 8 to serve as soldiers and wives. It is estimated that more than 30,000 children were abducted. During the height of the war, thousands of civilians perished and more than 1.5 million people were forced from their homes into the squalid conditions of internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.

Although order is being restored to the area, children and their families now face primitive living conditions and widespread food shortages. Homes, water supplies, and farms were destroyed during the war. Entire villages and schools have disappeared, and the bush has reclaimed once-fertile farmlands.

It is estimated that more than 2 million orphaned children are living in extreme poverty in Uganda.

As in any war, the children have suffered the most. Uganda has one of the highest rates of orphaned children in the world. But war is not the only deadly menace in the region.

orphaned children

The War, LRA, and Child Soldiers

Nearly half of Uganda’s estimated 2 million orphans have lost one or both parents to AIDS. More than 2 million Ugandans, 6.4 percent of the population, are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. Each year, approximately 20,000 new babies are infected by HIV through mother-to-child transmission. According to Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations, Uganda is “the biggest forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today.”

orphaned children

Facts About Northern Uganda

  • More than 1.5 million people have been displaced, seeking refuge in approximately 500 Internally Displaced Person Camps.
  • Between 30,000 and 60,000 children have been abducted, killed, or forced to become child soldiers and sex slaves.
  • 13.7% of children die before their fifth birthday.
  • 7.6% of infants die before their first birthday.
  • For every 10,000 pregnancies, 57 mothers die during childbirth.
  • 6.4% of the Ugandan population is infected with HIV/AIDS.

Resources

Kids playing soccer