The Lost Boys of Sudan : the reintegration process of school children associated with armed forces and groups
The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 marked the end of Africa’s longest civil war between the government of Sudan and Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement. A few years prior to the signing of the CPA, the SPLA started to demobilize children from their ranks. This is still going on. While some children are formally demobilized with assistance from organizations as well as the UN, others are not. This study examines the reintegration process of these youth into life as civilians and students in schools in Malakal. The main findings of the study shows that in general, Children Associated with Armed Forces and Groups (CAAFG) do not get specific attention in Malakal. However, there are both international and national policy documents that address them. They are labeled and stigmatized by the society and some suffer from trauma. Half of them have lost one or both parents and they struggle to get money for school and basic living. Currently, none get the support that is necessary to secure their future and give them a good education which is needed to rebuild Sudan. The surrounding environments do not cooperate to their benefit and they are not addressed in particular in the schools. If the reasons that made them choose to join the armed group are not addressed, they might as well find their way back. Therefore the reintegration process into the school system is of crucial importance, not only for the individual CAAFG, but for the future of Southern Sudan. The study shows that former CAAFG are marginalized in numerous ways.