Christmas Appeal 2017 We have made great strides in helping improve reintegration for former girl soldiers in eastern DRC since beginning projects in the country in 2016. We are proud that our community and education projects continue to make a real impact in the lives of these girls. But still more needs to be done. We are working hard to ensure that our work in the country’s conflict-ridden eastern provinces is sustainable. We’re looking for changes in law and in understanding so that a better future for former girl soldiers - girls who have suffered indescribable abuses and hardships - is a reality. November 2017 visit In November, we returned to DRC to implement the latest phases of our work in the country. We have now helped 177 former girl soldiers across eastern DR Congo back into education. We revisited many of these girls to assess their progress, and shared with them the final published version of our report, What the Girls Say. The girls were delighted to see their own stories and views – heard for the first time, for many - in print, and to understand the part they’ve played in building better responses for former girl soldiers across the country. We also held a workshop for our National Action Group, and 33 child protection actors joining from across the region to present our Practical Guide – a handbook presenting low-cost, practical interventions to support former girl soldiers – as recommended by the girls themselves. “It’s truly amazing to see how well it has worked. Girls who were once rejected, labelled prostitutes and excluded from community life are now accepted and perceived just as any other girls of their age – something they all wished for,” Sandra Olsson, Child Soldiers International The year ahead We will phase in the implementation of our projects by our local partner organisations in 2018, who work directly in communities affected by conflict. Our National Action Group will conduct outreach work with their own communities and government officials, at the same time as implementing our girls’ education and listening projects. This will build the foundation needed to ensure that girls caught up in armed groups can be supported for the long term. Christmas giving With lots more to achieve and more helped needed for the former girl soldiers across Democratic Republic of Congo, we are asking for your help this Christmas period. All donations, however large or small, are greatly appreciated and can truly have a tangible impact on our projects in the country. If you are able to support our projects online donations can be made here or you can call us on 0207 324 4690.