“I regret everything,” whispered Karim.
In 2009, a group of men offered young Karim roughly 300 US dollars a month for what he thought was military training. After three months he was released and instructed to go home and wait. He returned to his normal life and didn’t hear anything for more than 8 years.
A few weeks ago I was enjoying a cup of our organic criollo, a South American coffee cultivar, at a project site in Mexico. It’s a gift to see the growing hope in a community when we partner with them through practical means like coffee projects. What we’re about to share with you — a simple but revolutionary coffee product — is going global and it has potential to significantly expand our projects’ impact, especially those in the Upper Mekong Basin of South Asia. It’s exciting to think that now a single coffee cup can help protect kids from child soldiering.
“I was trained to always be ready. I slept in my shoes. My bags packed, always within reach,” recalls Joy (name changed to protect her identity), local Project Coordinator in the Philippines. She credits her early childhood experiences, running for her life, for birthing in her a burden to help the children still at-risk in her home community.
On Tuesday May 23rd, a violent gun battle began in Marawi City after government troops raided the hideout of Isnilon Hapilon. Hapilon is the leader of Abu Sayyaf, meaning “bearer of the sword”, a violent jihadist group in the southern Philippines—notorious for attacking civilians and armies alike. (BBC)
Myanmar (Burma) remains unsettled and continues to maintain some of the highest numbers of child soldiers on the planet. Aung San Suu Kyi, leader for the national democracy movement of Myanmar, faces many challenges in her plans for peace. In her Aug. 31 speech, Suu Kyi pledged to establish a "democratic federal union." But just a day earlier, a military spokesman dismissed the term, saying it did not comply with the 2008 constitution drafted by the military.