In 1986, the civil war between the rebel organization Lord's Resistance Army (LRA, with leader Joseph Kony) and the Ugandan army started in the north of Uganda.
Since then, the LRA forcibly recruited approx. 30,000 children aged 6 - 15 years as soldiers and sex slaves. The LRA is responsible for looting, killing, maiming, torturing and raping tens of thousands of civilians.
90% of the population has been displaced from their home land and from their villages, and they were herded together in refugee camps.
1.6 million refugees were living under inhuman conditions in camps, 80% of whom were women and children.
Since 2004, Kony is accused at the International Court in The Hague. Currently there is a truce between the Ugandan government and the LRA, but no peace treaty has been signed yet. During the last years, the refugees were challenged to return to their home villages. The problem is that the villages are mostly destroyed; there is no potable water and no opportunities to make a living.
AIDS is one of the main issues of the country. One of the alarming impacts of the AIDS epidemic is the rapidly growing number of affected children. Currently, the number of AIDS orphans is estimated at two million.
This is the highest rate in Africa – with increasing tendencies. The situation of the orphans is extremely difficult. If they still have grandparents, these step in for the deceased parents. However, the grandparents or other family members are often not able to take care of so many children, and the orphans are then left alone. Furthermore, the children are discriminated and excluded from society because it is not clear whether they are infected with HIV. Many orphans end up as street children and prostitutes. They fall into a vicious circle and run the risk of being raped or abused, which further increases the risk of HIV infection.