As a staff, we at Project: AK-47 have been consistently awed this year by the way our North American & international community has rallied around a cause that is often times hard to empathize with: rescuing child soldiers. Your intentional engagement with us in the issue of child soldiering and children in armed conflict has not only been incredibly inspiring, but has also accomplished a lot.
Because of your help, 2010 has been a monumental year for us and for the children we are reaching together. Here are just a few highlights of what we were able to do during the year with your help:
-Launch a new child soldier rescue project in the Philippines
-Form a partnership to rescue kids caught in the drug wars of Mexico
-Build a rice mill as a social entrepreneurship effort for our kids in Burma
-Rebuild one of our children’s homes in Burma when it was devastated by an electrical fire
In the past year, we've seen over 8,000 people join together to play a role in our rescue and rehabilitation efforts. About 6,000 of these people are daily advocating the child soldiers of Southeast Asia by wearing their dog tags around their necks. And, there are anywhere from 2,500 to 4,000 people in conversation online about the issues we are addressing as a community of advocates!
Here is a glimpse of some of that recent conversation:
“I am going to make Jan 2011 Official Child Soldier Month by wearing a Project: AK-47 shirt every day. Even with my suit & tie.”
-Jeremiah Fellows in Denver, CO (@JWFellows)
“Just purchased Child's Dog Tags from the Project: AK-47 website. This child's story Will Be Told & they Will Be Remembered. They Are A Somebody!! It's a very humbling experience to see/touch/wear them for 1st time. Help rescue child soldiers!
“Just ordering some good stuff from Project: Ak-47! I'm using Christmas to help fight child trafficking and child soldiers!”
-Aaron Schnobrich in California (@aaschnobrich)
“Got my Project:AK-47 dog tags today. Both exciting & sobering 2 think the tags I'm holding = a real child doomed to be a child soldier.” :(
-Eowyn from Iran (@Eowyn9)
We are on the edge of a brand new year. With it will come new kids with new challenges, the looming threat of war around our projects and the expected darkness we've become accustomed to fighting in our line of work. However, with the stories of these child soldiers resounding so clearly in the ears of our international community, Project: AK-47 has little fear in taking on some of the darkest issues in our modern world.
Project: AK-47 is bent on seeing the world's most abused children rescued and, in time, developed into powerful agents of cultural change. As one year ends and another begins, our ask remains the same: JOIN US.