No matter who they are or where they come from, UNICEF helps children whenever they need us. Millions of children across the world have survived, gone to school and been protected because of the work you have helped us do. Ishmael Beah is one of these children.
When Ishmael was 12 war came to his village in Sierra Leone. He was kidnapped soon after and was forced to become a child soldier in the rebel army. Ishmael was drugged and forced to commit horrific crimes, though he was only a young boy.
Two years later, UNICEF negotiated with warlords to release Ishmael and other child soldiers and placed him in a reintegration programme. Here Ishmael got the chance to become a child again and recover from the trauma he had experienced.
Ishmael has since written a book about his experiences as a child soldier and he has won numerous human rights awards. He is now a UNICEF Ambassador and has co-founded the Network of Young People Affected by War.
Every child has the chance of a future just as bright as Ishmael – thank you for helping us give him a chance.