From 1975 to 2002, the people of Angola endured a civil war that left approximately 500,000 dead and up to 1 million displaced. Although there were several short periods of peace throughout the conflict, the war took a heavy toll on Angola, especially its children. During the war, thousands of children were forced to fight as child soldiers, and the country as a whole is still struggling to recover. Even though the war is over, memories of the conflict are still fresh in the minds of many Angolans, and there are tens of thousands of families who need help rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of the struggle.
ChildFund came to Angola in 1994 to help street children and refugees cope with traumas sustained during the fighting. As the conflict claimed the lives of so many people, thousands of children became orphans, with many left to fend for themselves. Although many children were in urgent need of food and shelter, treating the emotional and psychological scars of the war was equally important. One of the most vital projects ChildFund has embarked on during our time in Angola has been the introduction and development of community centers to provide support to children displaced by the conflict and families torn apart by war.
Wars often take a terrible toll on children, especially if they have witnessed the brutality of combat firsthand. As such, the road to recovery can be long and arduous. For this reason, ChildFund committed to empowering local communities through outreach programs and educational initiatives, ensuring villages and towns have the resources and training they need to adequately help those affected by the war.
Since coming to Angola in 1994, ChildFund has become a leader in child protection, establishing Child Centered Spaces where survivors of the conflict can express their feelings and begin to adjust to normal life. Through this initiative, ChildFund has trained more than 470 government officials in child protection, and our centers provide family reunification services, health care, educational opportunities and psychosocial rehabilitation to approximately 34,000 children across the country.
"The resource center is one contribution ChildFund Angola is making to help the government bring a better future to this community, especially for children," said Benjamin Tchiyevo, ChildFund's national director in Angola, at the opening of a center in the Olonjuli region last year.