My experience filming 'Kids with Guns: Stacey Dooley Investigates'
Stacey Dooley with a group of ex-child soldiers who are now at a transit centre. (Photos by Fiona LLoyd-Davies.)
I had to have specialist training to even visit. I had to learn how to act if I was kidnapped or what to do if anyone was shot and how to handle volatile situations. Gulp!
The Democratic Republic of Congo was the most unbelievable place I have ever seen. Now I'm not normally a massive fan of landscapes but the country was just so so stunning! It was weird to think that such awful things can happen in such a beautiful place.
They are told that the drugs they must take are important, as they work as 'armour' and keep them strong. They call it magic medicine. One lad told me the magic medicine he took made sure the bullets fired at him 'bounced off' and made him invincible.
I heard lots of heartbreaking, terrifying stories out there. I found it difficult to get my head around the fact that such awful things happen. But they absolutely do and so it's important that we are all a bit more in the loop about what's going on. And there are also a lot of amazing people, doing amazing things out there.
Muna, who you see in the programme, is an amazing guy who runs the centre for ex-child soldiers that I visited for the programme. This gives them a place to live, learn and eat and he ultimately tries to reunite kids with their families.
Stacey Dooley in an art class run by Nadege, at the transit centre for ex-child soldiers. (Photos by Fiona LLoyd-Davies.)
This experience has made me believe that you have to look at the positives and think that some good can come out of such devastating circumstances or nothing will ever change, will it? X
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Here are some details of the organisations that were featured in Kids With Guns: Stacey Dooley Investigates:
BVES is an NGO that runs the transit centre where we filmed the child soldiers run by Muna. For more information visit the website.
Children's Voice is the charity which trains and supports kids like Zawadi, the girl in the film. For more information visit the website.
Unicef is the United Nations agency for children that campaigns to end the use of child soldiers. You can learn more on their website.
Here are some other useful links if you want to find out more about the issues we covered in the programme:
- Human Rights Watch - Red Hand Day Campaign
- Save The Children: The work the organisation is doing to help child Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Amnesty International: Child Soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo
- UN News Focus: Democratic Republic of Congo
- Watchlist Report on Children in Armed Conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo
- BBC News: Democratic Republic of Congo country profile
- BBC News: Further information about the DR Congo conflict
Stacey will also be sharing her experiences of filming Child Trafficking: Stacey Dooley Investigates here on the blog next week. Her programme looking at child trafficking in Cambodia will be on BBC Three next Thursday 14th October at 9pm.
- More about Kids with Guns: Stacey Dooley Investigates
- Read Stacey's diary she wrote for the BBC Three blog