After being coerced into murder, cannibalism and rape, ex-child soldiers in Uganda have been left traumatised. Meet the counsellor using art therapy to help them process their ordeal
In a small hut in an isolated village in northern Uganda, 10 men sat together in a circle drawing pictures. All former child soldiers, they had been given colouring pencils and paper and were asked to draw a time when they had to do something difficult. The first volunteer to share his picture sat directly opposite art therapist David Taransaud. “What he had drawn was a very big cooking pot, and inside there were arms and legs, and someone’s head being cooked; and on the pot he had written LRA, the Lord’s Resistance Army.”
For more than two decades, children, women and men in northern Uganda were terrorised by the notoriously violent LRA, until the end of the civil war in 2006. The guerilla group were responsible for unimaginable crimes against humanity, including exploiting children as soldiers, abduction, murder and child sex slavery – all of which came to international attention with the 2012 viral charity campaign video on its leader, Joseph Kony.