A Long Way Gone by Christy Avery & Macie Stockton

Sierra Leone borders the countries Guinea and Liberia, and the Atlantic Ocean borders it.
Sierra Leone mines diamonds, which are coveted by Anericans and others.
The RUF stands for the Revoluttionary United Front. They are known for recruiting children and raping and injuring their victims.
Sierra Leone suffered a brutal civil war that hampered the country's political, social, and economic development. It began in March 23, 1991, because of intervention from the RUF in attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government. Child soldiers were often used to fight in war.
Sierra Leone's government is a presidential republic and has three provinces and one area. It's a mixed legal system of English common law and customary law.

Sierra Leone is not the only country who uses children to fight in war; Afganistan, India, and Yemen also use them, among others.

Afghanistan
India
Yemen

Organizations such as Child Soldiers International are trying to stop the problem by helping kids reintegrate back into their families, working to end recruit and use of child soldiers, and hold accountable those who do.

The United Nations are also helping in a big way. 20 years ago, they formed an action plan to both end and prevent recruitment of children. Since then, eight countries, including Afghanistan and Yemen, have signed the treaty.

Ishmael Beah working as a public speaker.

Ishmael Beah is 36 years old and the author of A Long Way Gone. After overcoming being a child soldier, he went to United Nations High School and Oberlin college, later becoming the author of a best-selling novel. During his ordeal, rap music had a significant influence on him. He was fascinated by seeing his first hip-hop video and by the English language and how fast the rappers spoke it. Rap was the reason he left home, and his cassettes showed his innocence and saved him and his friends from death many times.

In Eye to Eye, Beah discusses how he ultimately prevailed and how he still loves his home of Sierra Leone, even after all he's been through there.

In this UNICEF video, Beah speaks as a representative, telling of the impact that war has on kids' lives and how it makes their childhoods a nightmare.

Credits:

Created with images by DFID - UK Department for International Development - "People gather at sunset on Lumley Beach, in Freetown, Sierra Leone" • whiteafrican - "African Population Map" • cygig - "diamond gem cubic zirconia" • US Army Africa - "U.S. Army Africa ACOTA team trains Sierra Leone troops" • DFID - UK Department for International Development - "Justine Greening talks with Sierre Leone's President Koroma on joint efforts to beat Ebola" • ArmyAmber - "soldiers military uniform" • jafsegal - "Varanasi, India" • valerian.guillot - "Wadi Dirhor" • rasdourian - "Ishmael Beah"

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