"We helped move more than 2,500 former child soldiers (99% boys) leave the combat zone of Bahr el Gazal using two humanitarian relief planes operated by the World Food Program."
Q&A With Nadi Albino, UNICEF South Africa
Chief of Education & Adolescent Development, Pretoria
Describe your job in 3 words?
Rewarding, frustrating and fascinating.
Describe how you became a UNICEF employee.
I applied because I’ve always wanted to work with women and children and while I was at university I read up a lot about UNICEF’s work and this was the first place I applied after graduating.
What’s the hardest project you’ve ever worked on?
Demobilization of child soldiers during the Sudan civil war. We helped move more than 2,500 former child soldiers (99% boys) leave the combat zone of Bahr el Gazal using two humanitarian relief planes operated by the World Food Program. The children were taken to reception centres in the Lakes area, behind the front lines, where local and international NGOs greeted them with medical check-ups and other basic care. The children - ranging in age from 8 to 18 - were demobilized from military camps run by the rebel Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army in February 2001. This was followed by a long negotiation process, including training on humanitarian principles for the SPLA. The negotiations culminated in a commitment by the then rebel leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior in October 2000 to Carol Belamy (former UNICEF Executive Director) to release all child soldiers. The lifting of the 2,500 child soldiers began the long process of child soldier demobilization that oversaw an operation releasing over 10,000 child soldiers back to their homes and communities in just over two years.
It was very painful and difficult – unimaginable in fact, that children so young having to go through something like this. As you sit there you wonder whether your counselling actually helps - it’s hard to know. I took one of the soldiers in as a foster brother and he went on to complete his university and post-graduate and now works for Presidency of South Sudan. He even married and has two children, so I guess in some cases it does!
Amid conflict, making a space for peace
Violence and displacement in the Central African Republic are leaving lasting emotional and mental scars on thousands of children. Giving them space to feel safe and to express themselves is one way to help them find peace.
“When the children first come to the UNICEF space, they tend to isolate themselves – some curl up under the mango tree,” says Pelagie, a volunteer educator in Central African Republic.
Find out how at these spaces, drawing and play are helping displaced children express their trauma and grief: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/car_70826.html
“In the place we were together
In the moments that I started to resemble you
I was so happy even though I couldn’t sleep at night
But you’re not here, you’re not here
How can I live as I empty you out?
In the times that we should have walked together
In the places where our future and my hopes still have to be made
I’m standing there because I miss you so much”
1. WE’RE ALL GIRLS WOOTS.
2. ayo was sup we’re swag-ritones. with our cuddly head coach.
3. No one can stop our “swag” even though we’re suffocated in that costume.
I swear to God.
Singapore is freaking hot like hell.