#HistoryMaker: A new Child Soldiers International animation “In the past thousands of children your age were involved in armed groups and militaries” Our new fundraising animation envisages a time when the recruitment and use of children in conflict is a thing of the past; when the stories of boys and girls in armed groups are no longer present-day realities but are consigned to history; reflections in a museum. We wanted to show that when communities, governments, the United Nations, civil society, armed groups and militaries come together, change is possible. It is from this perspective which we created the idea for a new animation to raise awareness of our work around the world and explain how military exploitation remains a devastating reality for thousands of children today. "In countries at war, children often had few other options but to join up" The film is told from the viewpoint of a school teacher and her students visiting the ‘International Child Soldiers Museum’ in an imagined future and follows them as the animations detail the recruitment journey, exploitation in conflict and the impact this can have on returning children. "Children who escaped were desperate to return home, but many - especially girls - were treated as outcasts" It details the importance of OPAC – the international child soldier treaty – in bringing about lasting change and concludes by calling on the international community to take a stand and help make this imagined future a reality. London design agency Hex Studio helped bring our idea and script to life. Working with their in-house design team, we created animations showing how children from all corners of the world, in varying forms, are recruited and exploited by armed groups and militaries. While we focused much of the animation on how children in developing nations are recruited and used by armed groups –girls in DR Congo used as sexual slaves or boys in Syria recruited to fight and act as spies for armed groups – we also wanted to convey how 16- and 17-year-olds are exploited by state armed forces in other countries. Balancing these two themes was a crucial part of the animation and required the creativity of the Hex team to thread together the varied narrative. We believe the end product offers a unique, nuanced take on the realities for children in armed conflict today. And we hope that with even more generous public support, we can achieve our goal of ensuring that no child is recruited for war. If you would like to support Child Soldiers International’s ongoing work, you can do so here.