Pioneer Peace Pack Activity 5 - Child Soldiers

Aim of the activity:
To explore the experience of child soldiers and the reasons why they have become involved in conflicts.

What you will need:
Two chairs;
Copies of the CHILD SOLDIERS STORIES
Flip chart sheet and marker pens
Pens and paper
Paints, crayons and poster paper

Suggested warm-up:

Chairs game
The leader asks for volunteers and waits till they come forward. Then the leader asks the volunteers to share with the rest of the group what went on in their heads between the voice that said you should volunteer and the voice that said you shouldn’t.
Two chairs are used to denote the two voices and the leader asks the first person various questions. The person moves towards whichever chair is applicable. Suggested questions are:

Which voice seemed stronger?
Which voice usually wins?
Could you label the two voices eg. ‘bossy’, ‘cautious’, ‘scared’ etc.?


Electric chair

The entire group links arms in a circle with a chair, the ‘electric chair’, in the middle. The object is to get people to touch the chair. Anyone who touches it is ‘dead’ and must leave the circle. Thus the circle keeps getting smaller.
Variations: Play the game with eyes closed, or with backs to the centre. Substitute a small group of people for the ‘electric chair’.

 

Main activity:
Hand out the CHILD SOLDIERS STORIES and allow the group time to read through them. If you have internet access let the group look at the images and read the testimonies at: http://www.childsoldiers.org/

Discuss each story in turn, considering:

- Why the young person became a soldier;
- Did they seem happy with what they were doing?
- Can the group understand how this young person felt and why they acted the way they did?
- What alternatives do they think the young person had?

Brainstorm a list of reasons why children might become soldiers and write the reasons on a flip chart sheet.

Go through the list and get the group to suggest things that could be done to prevent children being put into situations where they are likely to become soldiers.

Working either individually or in pairs, ask the group to write a poem or song, or produce a poster, based on one of the stories of the child soldiers.  Ask the Pioneers to try to get inside the head of the young person in the story and explain why they acted as they did and how they felt.

At the end, get everyone to present their work to the group. You could put together an exhibition or dramatic presentation for other groups to see.

Extension:
Amnesty International run a campaign against the use of children as soldiers. Find out what their latest actions are and get involved. See their web site at: www. amnesty.org

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CHILD SOLDIERS STORIES - Pioneer Peace Pack.doc33 KB