Central African Republic
Central African Republic (CAR) is surrounded on all sides by conflict-affected countries. The wars and insecurity in neighbouring D.R. Congo, Sudan and Chad have all spilt over the porous borders into CAR.
The country and its conflict don’t attract much interest from the media or governments and so it’s hard to find funding to work there. The UN has described the situation in CAR as the 'world's most silent crisis'.
The need is dire though as it ranks as one of the least developed countries in the world and has some of the lowest income and school attendance rates. The coup by the Seleka rebel group in December 2012 threw the country into further turmoil, and the entire population of the country (4.6 million people) is affected. Over 200,000 families have been forced to flee their homes, and over 60,000 children and families are suffering from severe food shortages.
What we're doing
In December 2013 the ongoing crisis in CAR became more dangerous for children, with fighting displacing over half a million people in the capital, Bangui, alone. Children have been badly affected by the latest upsurge in violence, forced to flee to overcrowded, unsafe temporary camps where they are vulnerable to violence and disease. Many children have suffered trauma, been torn from their homes, been separated from their families or have witnessed or experienced violent attacks.
Under these circumstances children are vulnerable to a wide range of violations, ranging from sexual violence to killing. Recruitment is one problem that has sharply increased in the recent violence: currently 6,000 children in CAR are believed to be linked to armed forces or armed groups.
Separated and unaccompanied children
War Child is working to protect some of the most vulnerable children in CAR: those who have been separated from their families. Through our partners on the ground, we are identifying unaccompanied children who arrive at displaced persons camps. Once we find them we assess their needs and make sure these children can access the right help.
We are also making sure other people living in the camps know how to recognise children who are on their own or at risk, and which agencies to refer them to for assistance.
Child Friendly Spaces
Camps for displaced people can be dangerous for children. War Child is setting up Child Friendly Spaces in camps in CAR, where children can play safely and regain some sense of normality. Here they can also access the specialist psychosocial help they need to cope with the trauma they have faced.