The Central African Republic is one of the worst countries in the world to be a child.
Sitting at the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index, the children in the former French colony grow up within an infrastructure crippled by decades of misrule, corruption, and coups. The country is beset by poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition, a shortage of qualified teachers and low literacy levels, and poor access to water, sanitation and health services. The recent armed conflict has exacerbated this situation as ongoing insecurity has hamstrung humanitarian efforts. Three years on, a quarter of schools remain closed and only a third of children are enrolled. Many still live in sprawling camps for the internally displaced, with minimal access to healthcare or an education.
Theirs is a childhood interrupted, a childhood lost.