The Freedom Project works alongside various ethnic groups to help bring children out of armed conflict. Our ground zero projects serve through education, community development, vocational training and brave love to bring children out of conflict zones and into lifestyles that move beyond blood feuds and hatred. We currently have over 30 rescued Filipino child soldiers in our care.
A small goat project can generate enough income to support our key military negotiator and project leader in The Philippines. Goats may be small, but they are some of the most efficient and profitable livestock one can own in Southeast Asia. Their upkeep is only 10% of what it costs to feed larger cattle, and a single doe (female goat) can produce up to 4 liters of milk a day and 4-5 kids (baby goats) every two years. The profits from milk and goat sales will provide a sustainable and scalable income for our national leader, so raising goats translates into rescuing more child soldiers.
Our team in the Philippines is committed to rescuing children from several highly volatile territories. Delivering medical packages, small business kits, and school supplies into different regions is vital to our projects. We have had to rely on Filipino public transport, which constricts our access to many desired locations. A small van for our team would instantly expand the amount of territory we can impact.
The Philippines is a tropical archipelago of more than 7,000 beautiful islands and over 170 spoken languages. Even though the vast majority of Filipinos are peaceful, the country’s ethnic and cultural diversity can create long-term conflicts. Cycles of violence become established in many of the smaller tribal and clan-like groups because of the belief that conflicts are best resolved through vengeance.
The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict believes that three groups in the Philippines remain liable for children in war zones: The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the New People’s Army (NPA), and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). To this list, we would also add the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP -NPA) and “pangayao” tribal wars. Though it is not Project: AK-47’s intent to place blame in the existing fray, we do want you to be aware of the current reality.
Through careful conversations with former child soldiers and regional governmental authorities, one thing has become obvious: there are probably thousands more child soldiers in the Philippines than what is currently believed. The situation is critical. Children are at risk not only of death or injury, but also of being locked into deadly cycles of generational violence.
“We still live in a world with those who would use children as spies, soldiers, and human shields,” says Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. “The shifting nature of conflict has put many children on the front lines. Too often, children become collateral damage during military operations…let us remember that we must protect the most innocent and most vulnerable.”