This is the account gathered by our field staff of one of the girls currently in our care. Her name and sensitive details have been changed to protect her safety.
“I was six when my parents gave me to the army. I’ll never forget the day: early in the morning my father pulled me out of sleep. It was still dark. He put me on his back to walk down the mountain trail from the village, but after we came to the main road I had to walk. We walked most of the day.
Finally we came to a cluster of houses. At the side of the road was a tin roofed lean-to. Men with guns sat in the shade of the slanted roof and some stood in the shadow of a great tree that spread over the road. I remember being scared until my father walked over to them. He left me near the base of the tree and went to talk with some of the men near a truck. I played with a dung beetle in the dirt.
Finally father turned away from the men and began walking down the road. He never looked at me. I thought he had forgotten me, so I cried out, “Papa,” but he did not turn back. I began to run after him but one of the men in green caught me by the arm and cuffed me. “You stay here,” he slurred at me. I was shocked. I tried again to run after Papa but the soldier struck me. I later found out my Dad had offered me for nothing in return.
A few hours later, they threw me on some supplies that awkwardly filled a truck and told me to hold on or die. We drove all night till my arms ached and my skin stung sore from the dust and wind. In the morning, the first sight I saw was a cement and metal fence. This was to be my prison. I did not know what a prison was. I did not even know what an army was. But now I know because I have lived in this place of no escape.
I learned that most the kids inside came here because they were orphans. Some of them were forced. Others were abandoned like me. I was one of the most unfortunate, so I thought, because My parents disowned me and I didn’t even know why.”
This is a short account of one of our rescued children currently in our care. Ok Hong was one of 100,000 child soldiers in Southeast Asia that still need to be rescued and is now one of hundreds that need to be cared for. Join us!