October 3, 2010 at 10:43 am 6 comments

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

Today’s post will come from a different place than normal. The topic has come from the delicious @CarolynAWebster on Twitter and the subject is diamonds! The topic came from a daft conversation but I have to take all my challenges so will take this one on the chin:) It is my own fault as I may have stated that I think they are lovely and would love to have lots of them:(

However, how to relate diamond’s and children? I pondered my options carefully. I could consider the fairytale as I have done with the ‘Star Wars, Unicorn and Platypus’ post. I enjoyed writing it but thought that it might be too soon to do another story. So I pondered a little more and am going to take a very serious look at diamonds and children, namely, the impact of ‘blood’ or ‘conflict’ diamonds on the lives of children.

You may think this a grim topic for this blog, especially when I like to think that my words would be suitable for children to read. However, real life can be grim and hopeless for many out there and I think that many children already realise this…..

I looked up the definition of a blood diamond on the United Nations website – ‘Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognised governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council’. That covers the definition, what about the impacts?

The term blood diamonds really first emerged in the early 1990s and are most associated with African countries and their civil wars, including Sierra Leone, Angola, the Ivory Coast and the Republic of Congo.

The impact to children of the conflict diamond industry is three-fold. Firstly, they are used as part of a slave or cheap labour force for mining, paid as little as $1 per day. They lose out on their childhood or any chance for education by being pulled into this dangerous life where the chances of beatings or injury are very high. Secondly, the funding of civil war by the blood diamond industry means that the rebel forces are funded to wreak havoc through the countryside. This can lead to the rebel forces travelling through the countryside and attacking villages. One of the tactics often employed is the use of amputation on adults and children. This was a deliberate act against adults to leave them unable to vote and against children to leave them unable to help care for their families. Thirdly, the funding of civil war from blood diamonds provides rebel forces with the funding to forcibly take children from their villages for use as child soldiers. This last impact is the one that terrifies me most of all.

The use of child soldiers is not solely linked to conflict diamonds but the funding they provided meant that it was prevalent in areas such as Sierra Leone. It is estimated that there are 300,000 child soldiers fighting in over 30 countries and that 10,000 of these were in the civil wars in Sierra Leone.

I read many stories on child soldiers as research for this blogpost and am still struggling with the images and words. This is a very selfish reaction on my part, I am ashamed that I relate this horror to my feelings about it. This is one topic where the blog doesn’t let me feel that I am doing something.

Those children kidnapped for use as child soldiers will  have a variety of roles to fulfill for their captors. The younger children will be used as labour; they fetch water, cook and are used as general slave labour. The girls will continue to take this role as they grow but will also be used as ‘wives’. The boys will be made to fight, knowing that they have no choice between fighting and death. Throughout all of this there is the omnipresent threat of death or beatings if you don’t comply. They are also often drugged and wound up to a frenzy so that they can carry out their macabre ‘duties’.

Even if they escape from this life the repercussions will follow. The psychological and physical damage knows no bounds. They are often rejected by their families as they are classed as ‘rebel’ wives or soldiers. The horrors they have witnessed and the acts they have been forced to do mean that they need intensive treatment to stand any chance of a life beyond this.

I have no pictures on this blog. This was deliberate, I saw too many images and don’t think you need to see them to understand. I can only say shame on this world that allows this to happen.

So, if you want to purchase any lovely sparkly diamonds, make sure that they are ethically sourced. The Kimberley Process (KP) is a joint governments, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. Please make sure that any purchases you make have followed this protocol.

As always I will close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.



Entry filed under: Childhood, Children, Donating, Giving, Life, Twitter, wheniwas8, Writing. Tags: , , , , .

Humphrey’s PJ Week…. Echoes……

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Carolyn  |  October 8, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Still reading the blog… Thought provoking and very frightening. Shame on the world for letting this happen. Thank you for writing this.

    • 2. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  October 8, 2010 at 7:08 am

      Oh Carolyn,

      Thank you for coming to read your post. I will only say we miss you and I am glad that you wrote to me.

      Take care,


  • 3. Claudia  |  October 3, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    There’s not much more to add to your post.

    So many children all over the world seem to have a horrible life and if they survived they will be mentally and often also physically damaged – and there is no therapy available for them.

    It’s great that you try to raise the awareness for such issues.

    Claudia x

  • 5. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  October 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Aw thanks Neill,

    This post was definitely a struggle for me but it was worth it. If I want to talk about children’s charities then I have to be prepared to put the ‘hard’ work in.

    Thank you hun……


    PS – Yours will be next:)

  • 6. Neill Morris  |  October 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Another excellent post. It gives you a little time to reflect and realise how lucky we are.


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