Thomas from Uganda
Thomas, Uganda

In the World's Children's Prize Child Jury, Thomas represented former child soldiers and children who have grown up in war. Sadly, Thomas passed away in May 2024, but his memory and legacy lives on.

Thomas speaks about his experiences.

When Thomas was twelve he was kidnapped by the rebels from militia leader Kony and his so called "Lord’s Resistance Army". This is how Thomas told his story when he was a jury member:

“They came one night when I was 12 and kidnapped me, my sister and my two brothers. We were tied together and forced to walk in front of the rebels. After a week, one of my brothers was still tied up. My other brother asked one night if he could pee. I watched as they tortured him to death, as he begged their forgiveness for having asked such a thing.

Another time we were caught in the crossfire between the rebels and the government helicopters. Three of the children died. Two girls who couldn’t walk any more because their feet were swollen were murdered. I was forced to do many horrible things to other children as well as to adults. We kidnapped their children and robbed and burned their houses.

After 14 months, I managed to escape, and now I’m in school again. Education is important to me because I have to support my sister and my mother.’

Thomas with his friends in the World's Children's Prize Child Jury and Queen Silvia, in Sweden.

Listen to Thomas sharing his experiences:

Text: Magnus Bergmar
Photo: Paul Blomgren

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