Childhood should be a time defined by words like: playground, family, school and innocence.

However, more children around the world than ever before – at least 357 million children – are living, some just barely, in areas affected by conflict. That’s more than the entire U.S. population! Read the new report by Save the Children, The War on Children now.

Globally, nearly 1 in 6 children are experiencing childhoods re-defined – by words like: starving, maiming, violence and war.

And nearly half of these children live in the most dangerous areas of all to be a child – those affected by high-intensity war and conflict, including Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. In these and other war-torn countries, children are imminently vulnerable to starvation, injury, exploitation and even death.

Thanks to compassionate people like you, Save the Children is there, on the ground every day, working to provide essentials – like food and safety – to children trying to survive these extreme conditions.

Help us do whatever it takes to end the war on childhood.

Here’s What Childhood Looks Like For Kids in Crisis

ReDefining Play: A Child Soldier’s Story

Yannick,* age 16, is a former child soldier from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“The militants came to the village and told us that they would kill us if we didn’t join them. They said they’d kill our families too and burn down our houses. When I heard them say that, I was worried about my family, so I decided to join the militants.

They took me to another village where they had arranged a “baptism” for the new recruits. The baptism gave us mystical powers and the strength to fight. I was scared. I wanted to run away. They told us that, in combat, we had nothing to fear. Even when the soldiers shot us or hurt us, nothing would happen. We wouldn’t die. They gave us a stick for fighting and a red headband.

The soldiers began to fire as soon as they saw us. I watched those in front of me killed by gunfire and so we ran away into the bush.

When we decided to come out, we met some people from Save the Children who stayed with us and helped us.”

Help us continue to save children, like Yannick.*

*Name changed to protect identity


We’ll be in touch! By signing up to receive emails from Save the Children you will receive a subscription to our monthly eNews, access to breaking emergency alerts and opportunities to get involved. To ensure delivery of Save the Children emails to your inbox, add to your contact list.