Colombia's ex-fighters taught skills for peace

When Sebastian Cadavid was recruited to join the Farc guerilla group in Colombia he had little idea of how it would shape his future. Lured with promises of cars and money the 12-year-old didn’t hesitate to sign up.

Sebastian spent four years fighting with the guerillas, receiving intensive ammunition training – but no schooling. When he was captured by the army at 16, Sebastian was faced with a world he was unskilled and unprepared to join.

“I was sent to Bogota,” said Sebastian. “To a reform house where street criminals were sent. And I had to find a job, in a busy city where I knew no-one and had no skills. I was scared and nervous – it was the first encounter I’d had with society since I was 12.”

The majority – 70% – of Farc members were illiterate, giving the recently demobilised guerrillas little chance of finding work, let alone sustainable, full-time employment.

Image caption Many of the fighters missed out on school and have returned as illiterate adults

“Many just go into construction, where the pay is bad and the work conditions are terrible, but at least you don’t need to know how to read,”…

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