Mariatu Kamara (R, front), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Canada's Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, addresses a Security Council meeting on children and armed conflict, at the UN headquarters in New York, Aug. 2, 2019. Mariatu Kamara, who was born and raised in a small village in Sierra Leone and is now serving as the UNICEF Canada's Special Representative, shared at the Security Council on Friday her own story and called for protection for children in armed conflicts. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Mariatu Kamara, who was born and raised in a small village in Sierra Leone and is now serving as the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) special representative for children affected by armed conflict, shared at the Security Council on Friday her own story and called for protection for children in armed conflicts.
Speaking at a ministerial open debate on "children and armed conflict," Kamara, whose hands were cut off at the age of 11 during the civil war in Sierra Leone, said that many children like herself are still seen "as enemies and unwanted or unaccepted by their communities and even their own family members" in some parts of Africa and elsewhere in the world.
The children's capacity to develop brighter future is now at stake, she said, because of lack of proper resources such as education, counselling, vocational mental trainings, that will equip them with the necessary tools for a promising future.
"Every once in while you come across a story of someone's life experiences and you have to take a breath and reflect," she said.
The girl, who was helped by a Canadian family to go to school in Canada and managed to transform her life story into a book called The Bite of The Mango, was named a "UNICEF Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict" a few years ago.
Kamara, who was taken by UNICEF back to Sierra Leone for the first time after she left the country, visited and saw the wonderful work that UNICEF team has been doing there, to promote the rights and the welfare of the children in Sierra Leone.
"It would also be good to emphasize the importance of peace process that take into account the needs of conflict-affected children. And how this can contribute to strong and peaceful societies," she said.