HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
A documentary that recaptures the stories of three poverty-ridden minors forced to join the insurgency, Through Our Eyes, was screened in the capital today. The three of them were also the protagonists of the documentary. They said poverty had forced them to join the war.
Nar Bahadur Sunuwar of Humla district said, “I joined the war expecting two square meals, opportunity to visit new places and was excited to know that I could also carry a gun. But to my dismay, I had to struggle hard and walk miles with pangs of hunger. My days were very difficult.”
His family members did not recognise him when he returned home after a decade.
Likewise, Jay Bahadur Thapa of Giri Chauka village in Doti district dropped out of school and joined the then Maoist insurgents. In his case too, poverty had compelled him to become a child soldier.
Sukmaya Prapti, who witnessed the attack on Beni, Myagdi district, in 2004, in which 200 died, was forced to join the war as she had only her mother, who was promised better life after the revolution.
However, Prapti, then 11 years, gained nothing; ‘republic’ is a buzzword but there’s nothing for children. “We, as children, fought the war, but we are useless today, leaders don’t care about us.” she vented her anger, “We don’t have republic, we have hardship.’
Around 9,000 children below the age of 15 were reportedly exploited during the civil war.
Sunuwar, Thapa and Sukmaya worked with Tessia Kobylinska to produce and direct the film. Each recorded videos of their friends. The film was made with assistance of Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Center (CWIN).
Thapa and Sunuwar are studying in Kathmandu, while Prapti is working for a CWIN-run children’s home in her hometown.
Source: The Himalayan Times (2010-12-31)