South East Asia
Project Update - January 2019
We will no longer be funding previous long-term partnerships in Philippines and Myanmar. However, we have a new project in Southeast Asia that we began partnering with in November 2018. This new project focuses on providing restoration, training and support for communities affected by armed conflict. The location cannot be disclosed due to security reasons.
The information below highlights the work we have been able to achieve between 2011-2018 through our partnerships in Philippines and Myanmar with child soldiers and communities vulnerable to trafficking children into military fighting.
A big focus of our work in the Philippines was prevention and rescue of child soldiers. Working in a high-conflict area where rebel groups are very active and always seeking to recruit more militants results in high incidence of children becoming soldiers. Our work was focused on education and peace-building for victims or those vulnerable to being recruited.
Each year we helped provide:
250 children with school enrolment & supplies
8 teachers with professional support and training
2 new classrooms in 2 new villages
Emergency relief, medical support and farming tools for families in need
Ali & Dallah’s story
Ali and Dallah grew up in the army, children of military commanders surrounded by decades of conflict and destined for this path of violence. The Freedom Project supported a school which, in addition to normal academic skills, the students are taught how to tolerate and respect cultural diversity. With our support, Ali and Dallah were able to attend the school where, along with their families, are involved in trauma counselling and non-violent conflict resolution. For Ali and Dallah, their involvement with The Freedom Project has been completely life changing. They have learnt a vital lesson, free from being enslaved as child soldiers – and their new understanding will go with them as they grow and become adults, responsible in their communities.
Ali said, “Each one will face consequences for our actions. So we should always do what is right... Violence won’t resolve violence.”
Our work focused on child soldiers, a very prevalent issue in the border region. We invested in providing education across various communities that are vulnerable to children being trafficked into rebel armies. Our approach involved negotiating with militants to allow child soldiers to enrol into the schools we supported, with holistic learning including academic education as well as trauma support and life skills.
Each year we helped provide:
35 children with enrolment to our education program
10 students with support for continued studies abroad
2 youth & leaders training events
2 graduates with further life skills training
Aaron (name changed) is one of the young boys in the safe house and education program that we supported. Aaron had been conscripted into military service and enrolment in our school was the only way to escape his fate. He had grown up surrounded by fighting and did not want to be a soldier. After a few years in the program, Aaron is doing well in his studies in grade 4, learning guitar and well on the way to graduate and be free from life as a soldier.