J.L. Malainey, Maj (Ret’d), 2016 Wounded Warriors Canada VTECS Participant

By: J.L. Malainey, Maj (Ret’d), 2016 Wounded Warriors Canada VTECS Participant

Featured/Header Photo Credit: Claude Wauthier,2016 Wounded Warriors Canada VTECS Participant
Learn about the VTECS Program: childsoldiers.org/vtecs

Encapsulating my learning experience from the VTECS program in a short paragraph is difficult. The core of this program is the in-depth Dallaire Initiative training courses, but VTECS is much more than that. It’s learning about and from the experiences of our fellow veterans. It’s the interaction with Dalhousie students, with their interest and perspectives and questions and amazing ideas. It’s experiencing some of the familiar camaraderie and motivation of being engaged in an operational mission. And it’s the possibility that we can continue to make a difference – to a child, to a soldier or police officer, to a community, to the world – in a way that acknowledges and uses our individual and collective capabilities.

By the end of our course, I had gained an awareness not only of issues related to child soldiers, but also how the involvement of children in conflict and war affects the child, their families, their societies and the security sector actors who encounter them – in the moment and for years beyond.

I did not know much about the issue of child soldiers when I was accepted to the VTECS program. By the end of our course, I had gained an awareness not only of issues related to child soldiers, but also how the involvement of children in conflict and war affects the child, their families, their societies and the security sector actors who encounter them – in the moment and for years beyond. As a Monitoring Officer for the OSCE in Ukraine, I am now more observant of issues affecting children in this conflict. As a veteran, I have a greater appreciation for the complexity that child soldiers add to a mission and the necessity for better preparedness of security sector actors to face and address this situation.

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