“Child soldiers”? What do you mean?
In Central and East Africa, armed forces and rebels have abducted more than 100,000 children. Children as young as 7 are kidnapped and forced to fight in rebel armies. Many are psychologically tortured and brainwashed — forced to commit atrocities against their own families and communities… forced to fight and to kill. Young girls are abducted and abused, becoming victims of rape and sexual violence.
If these children finally escape or are released, they are left with deep and lasting emotional scars from what they’ve seen and been forced to do. Many are unable to return home because they have lost all family members and/or because of stigmatization for atrocities they were forced to commit in their communities.
What is Exile Intl’s Mission?
Exile International exists to restore rescued child soldiers and war-affected children to become leaders for peace through art therapy and holistic, rehabilitative care.
With the proper care, child survivors can become (and are becoming) leaders for peace. They are transforming lives and communities!
What services does Exile Intl provide?
- Comprehensive, rehabilitative care — physical, emotional, spiritual care, education & leadership development
- Training and partnering with local counselors, caregivers & leaders
- Advocacy and awareness — amplifying their voices to promote action & change
- Child Sponsorships — education, housing, food, medical & rehabilitative care
How many children are receiving care?
This year, over 1,600 rescued child soldiers, war-affected children and orphans will receive the care they need to begin healing their wounds of trauma.
Since 2008, over 4,300 lives have been transformed through EI’s art therapy and rehabilitative care programs.
Why Art Therapy?
Art and expression are empowering mediums, especially for children — they provide a safe avenue to express and process emotions and experiences that children do not yet have the words to share.
Weekly group therapy and programs incorporating art, music, dance and drama provide children with avenues to share their stories. For many, this expression becomes the first step on a path of healing and discovering hope. Communicating their stories with caregivers, mentors and peers helps traumatized children to rebuild a sense of normalcy – the idea that “I can be understood” – once lost to extreme physical and emotional traumas.
Who facilitates the programs?
Exile International trains & partners with local leaders to restore lives and bring hope to war-affected children in their own communities.
By partnering with local counselors, caregivers and leaders in DR Congo and Uganda, EI implements culturally appropriate counseling and care practices. Many local men and women who are already helping their communities to heal are looking for more ways to strengthen their communities. Trainings in the rehabilitative care, peace-building and leadership models utilized by EI programs further empower local leaders to do just that!
Where does Exile Intl work?
We have long-term care programs in war-affected communities of northern Uganda & eastern DR Congo.
Exile Intl has provided short-term programming in Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Togo and Haiti — providing caregiver trainings, art therapy workshops and consultation to organizations serving at-risk children.
How does faith play a role in EI’s work?
Exile International is a community of faith seeking justice, restoration and empowerment on behalf of all people regardless of race, religion, or any other status. The love of Jesus Christ motivates us to compassionately respond to those in need: The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.” (Micah 6:8)