Students help kick off child soldier exhibit

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By: The Vanguard

Students from Yarmouth Central School and Barton Consolidated School in Digby County presented a brief dramatic performance at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Western Branch in Yarmouth Thursday evening, Jan. 16, to help open The Plight of the Child Soldier – Innocence Lost, an exhibit of photographs from the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative at Dalhousie University.

The student project – led by Yarmouth resident Linda Marie Coakley – gave the participating students a chance to learn about the problem of child soldiers in some parts of the world.

The problem is getting worse, according to a child soldier fact sheet made available to those attending the exhibit’s opening in Yarmouth.

In recent years the use of child soldiers reportedly has spread to almost every region of the world.

Some children are under the age of 10 when they are forced to serve.

Those who are poor, displaced from their families, have limited access to education or live in a combat zone are more likely to be forcibly recruited.

Children who are not forced into being soldiers may volunteer to become soldiers because they feel societal pressure and believe volunteering for military service will give them income, food or security.

The Yarmouth exhibit will be up until Feb. 23.

The exhibit was made possible through the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s ArtsSmarts Nova Scotia program in partnership with the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, with funding from Arts Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Education.