enter image alt text
We’re going home!
The big day has arrived. Murhabazi and BVES have managed to trace Mutiya’s family and the families of fifteen other boys. Now, finally, they’re going to return home after several years of war.

“This is a really happy moment! My only worry is that new fighting will break out in the areas that the boys are returning to, and that they will be forced to become soldiers again. It happens, and it makes me so angry. One boy was taken three times, by three different armed groups. Each time we freed him,” says Murhabazi.

enter image alt text

Balls instead of bombs!

“The soldiers took the boys’ school uniforms and gave them soldier’s uniforms instead. And weapons instead of pens. Bombs instead of balls. But we give the boys footballs to take home with them. Those who live near each other can start a football team and carry on supporting each other,” says Murhabazi.

Radio is important

“I am giving you a radio so that you know what is happening in our country and around the world. It’s important. Listen to news that tells you about children’s rights. The radio runs on solar energy so you don’t have to buy batteries.”

enter image alt text

Longing for peace

“When I was a soldier, there was war every day. Never peace. Apart from my mum and dad, it was peace that I missed most of all. I suffered all the time. It was terrible. I’m happy to finally be able to go home. I’m hoping that my life will be good now. That I’ll be able to go to school again and make lots of friends. Murhabazi saved my life. I’m going to miss him.”
Amani, 15, spent 2 years as a child soldier

Dreamed of school

“I missed school most of all. I always felt like I was in the wrong place, that I should be in school instead. Murhabazi is going to help me start school again when I get home, and it feels like a dream come true. School gives you lots of opportunities in life. I’d like to be president. The first thing I’d do would be to free all children who were forced to be soldiers. I would help them to find their families and let children start school again. My biggest fear now is that I will be taken by soldiers and forced to fight again.”
Assumani, spent 2 years as a child soldier

Misses his mother

“I’m longing to see my mum! I thought about her all the time during the war. I used to help her in the fields and fetch the water before I was forced to be a soldier. I was always worrying about how she would cope while I was away because my dad died when I was little. Now I just want to get home and be near her again. What worries me is leaving all my friends here. We’ve been able to talk to each other about our terrible experiences, and that’s been great. The boys in the village who haven’t been soldiers will never understand what I’ve been through.”
Obedi, 15, spent 2 years as a child soldier

Boys saying goodbye
Goodbye friend!
The boys say goodbye to each other. They have become firm friends and helped each other through difficult times, so even if they’re longing to get home, it’s not easy to part.

Wants to laugh and play

“I really miss my friends at home. I hope that they aren't afraid of me now because I’ve been a soldier. I’ve really missed just being able to chat and play football and play. I’m happy to be able to go home. It doesn’t matter what happens, nothing can be worse than what I experienced as a soldier. Nothing. ”
Aksanti, 15, 4 years as a child soldier

Dreams about good stones

“Those that took me forced me to dig for gold, diamonds and other minerals. I had to give everything I found to my leaders. I was their slave. We attacked others who worked in the mines. I don’t know how many people died. We used the gold and minerals to buy weapons from rich arms dealers who came out to the forests. If we hadn’t had all these minerals, there would have been peace ages ago. Now all the natural riches are bad for us. But really they should be good. If DR Congo’s government could sell the minerals properly, we could build schools, roads and hospitals. I dream of such a day. I also dream of one day becoming a tailor and having a good life.”
Isaya, 15, spent 4 years as a child soldier


Långgatan 13, 647 30, Mariefred, Sweden
Phone: +46-159-129 00 • info@worldschildrensprize.org

© 2020 World’s Children’s Prize Foundation. All rights reserved. WORLD'S CHILDREN'S PRIZE®, the Foundation's logo, WORLD'S CHILDREN'S PRIZE FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD®, WORLD'S CHILDREN'S PARLIAMENT®, WORLD'S CHILDREN'S OMBUDSMAN®, WORLD'S CHILDREN'S PRESS CONFERENCE® and YOU ME EQUAL RIGHTS are service marks of the Foundation.