Children playing outside their school
Our school was destroyed

Aselme, 13, and his friends in the village of Upende in Beni, DR Congo, were waiting for their copies of The Globe to arrive at school so they could get involved in the WCP program again. But one day when they were sitting in the classroom, they heard gunshots coming from their homes in the village. They realised they had to escape and ran to the forest. The rebel group that had come to the village destroyed their school and killed lots of people. When The Globe arrived, the children’s new school didn’t have any walls yet.

“We were desperate for The Globe to arrive at our school again. I’m a Child Rights Ambassador and I was planning to teach other children about the WCP program. But one day at school we heard shooting. I immediately realised that our village was under attack and ran as fast as I could towards the forest, where we hid to save our lives. We had to live off what­ever was growing there. The rebels took over our school and waited there to kill people. They destroyed our school and burned down many homes. “I found out that my dad had been killed. It made me so sad. I also thought that I probably wouldn’t be able to go to school anymore. “On the radio, I heard that we were to gather at a new school. When we arrived, it didn’t have any walls yet. A month later, The Globe came to our new school. As a Child Rights Ambassador, I’m going to teach other children in my school, but also adults, about children’s rights. When I’m older I want to do everything I can to make sure those who carried out the massacre are prosecuted.” Aselme, 13

Learn peace!

“We’d been looking forward to The Globe arriving at school, but we had to escape to the forest, where me and my brothers stayed without anything to eat or drink for three days. We were so happy when we saw that our parents had survived. The Child Rights Ambassadors came with The Globe to the new school. Thanks to the WCP program, we know how important children’s rights are. I will carry on teaching my school friends and teachers about children’s rights, as well as the adults where I live and our leaders. I want to spread peace among children and say to the adults ‘Learn peace!’” Eugénie, 13

Eugenie standing outside her house

Eugenie outside her home in the village where the school was destroyed by militia.

Everyone has the same worth

“I fled with my younger siblings. An armed man treated my little sister badly. When my parents came, we started at a new school. One day, I saw boys and girls from another school arriving with The Globe. They were called Child Rights Ambassadors and they taught us and our teachers about the WCP program. That was when I realised that all children have the same worth. I want to fight to make sure our country’s government takes responsibility for children and respects our rights.” George, 13

Right to school and play

“When the shooting started, I ran to the forest, where I lived off wild fruit. My sisters and other friends were assaulted by the rebels and infected with sexually transmitted diseases. They killed my dad, and I think about him all the time. When the Child Rights Ambassadors came here, they taught us that we have the right to go to school and to play. Now I’m a WCP Child Rights Ambassador myself and I want to teach other children about their rights and fight so that others don’t experience what my family suffered.” Mathe, 14

drc_schhoolwalls

Still no walls in the schools.

I teach children and parents

“Every year we usually read The Globe in the classroom and at home. I was looking forward to learning more about children’s rights, but then I had to run for my life from our school. The Child Rights Ambassadors taught us that all children in the world have the same rights, like the right to go to school, to have food, clothes and clean water. I will carry on defending children’s rights until I die. I will educate children about their rights and tell parents they must respect children’s rights!” Prince, 15

Teaching about girls’ rights

“It’s hard for us pupils to perform well because we have such a difficult situation at school. I’m a Child Rights Ambassador at my school and in my village. I teach children about their rights and in particular about girls’ rights.” Wivine, 17

One of the worst wars in the world

The war in DR Congo has been going on for more than 20 years and is one of the biggest and most brutal in the history of the world. More than five million people have died in attacks like the one that happened in Upende, or from hunger and diseases as a direct result of the war. Hundreds of thousands of children have been forced to become child soldiers, sex slaves for the fighters or have been subjected to rape. Millions of people have become refugees in their own country, and several million children are not in school. The current conflict began after the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda in 1994. Thousands of the perpetrators of the genocide fled to the forests of DR Congo, where they remained. DR Congo has vast riches such as gold and diamonds, but also tungsten and coltan, minerals that are used in mobile phones, computers and computer games. The war is very much about who will have control over DR Congo’s mines and wealth. Companies from Belgium, the UK, Russia, Malaysia, China and India have been identified because they buy minerals, which are usually called conflict minerals, from various armed groups that are brutally violating children’s rights and so keeping the war going.

Children studying the Globe outside
Children studying the Globe
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