Central African Republic (CAR) is very vulnerable to internal political instability and coups, as well as attacks by armed groups from neighbouring countries.
The CAR is poor, its state institutions are weak, and education and child protection have been badly affected. Children are often at risk of separation from their families, violence, sexual abuse or recruitment as soldiers.
War Child is building up community-based skills and support networks to identify and take care of children who are or have been at risk of exploitation.
Children in the CAR
Young people have been badly affected by the ongoing crisis in the CAR.
Huge numbers have suffered trauma, been torn from their homes, separated from their families or experienced violence.
They often end up in overcrowded, unsafe temporary camps where they are at risk of more abuse or disease.
Education has suffered in the CAR too, especially in rural areas, and illiteracy levels are high – which also increases young people’s vulnerability to exploitation, early marriage, enforced labour or enrolment in armed groups.
What we do in the CAR
We are building awareness and skills in communities so they’re better able to identify and protect vulnerable children. This includes minimising family separations, preventing children from being recruited by armed groups, and counselling young people who have been traumatised by their experiences.
We always use a community-based approach, by listening to and working with the children themselves, their families, community leaders, and local and central authorities.
We partner with other NGOs and child protection networks to make sure children can access the right help and a safe environment. We provide business skills training for mothers and caregivers living in camps, to help them improve their income and life chances.
Education is vital for improving child protection, that’s why we help vulnerable children enrol in school, covering their fees and supplies.
We establish Child Rights Clubs to encourage children to build awareness, self-esteem and confidence.
Our ‘VoiceMore’ project lets young people share their experiences of living in war-affected areas, and say how they feel their lives could be improved.
"I get really scared when I hear the gunshots." Andrew lives in the Central African Republic. He tells us what it's like to be a young person in a conflict zone
Education in emergencies
Keeping children in education during wars and other emergencies is a life-saving priority for children and their families. That's why we see protecting children’s right to education as a central part of our response to a crisis.