NEW YORK, USA, 19 February 2009 – Abraham Kur Achiek served in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) as a teenager. Today, he’s in his 30’s and working as a child protection officer for UNICEF in his native Southern Sudan.
UNICEF podcast moderator Amy Costello spoke with Mr. Kur Achiek about his days as a child, when soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army were his teachers.
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An imperfect education
When he looks back on his childhood, Mr. Kur Achiek says the atrocities he witnessed as a young rebel soldier haunt him to this day. Even so, he credits that very same rebel group, the SPLA, with giving him an education, however imperfect it may have been.
“Although the education was not of quality because of the onset of the war, I can tell you I’m proud and able to talk to you today because of the small education that I had with the SPLA,” Mr. Kur Achiek says. “It opened my eyes (and) it was able to give me an opportunity to continue looking for more education.”
After escaping from the SPLA in 1994, and making it to the Kenyan border, Mr. Kur Achiek was placed in a refugee camp, where he says education was his only hope, giving him the motivation to persist with his studies.
“I did not know anybody anywhere, so the only hope was that if I could continue with this refugee education and gain some knowledge, at least (I) could make some changes in my life,” he explains.
Mr. Kur Achiek now spends his days trying to demobilize children and prevent them from becoming associated with armed forces.