Plight of child soldiers inspires award-winning sixth formers

 The lives of child soldiers in some of the world's worst trouble-spots have become the inspiration for an award-winning project for a group of Bedfordshire sixth formers.

The plight of children who forced to shoot, maim and sometimes kill their own families just to stay alive was the focus of last year's Global Student Forum in London. And it had such a deep emotional impact on the students from Stratton Upper School in Biggleswade that they went on to produce an information package online and offline to inform their peers of the realities of life on the front line.

Now the students are bound for London where they will receive an award from the Minister for International Development for what has been described as a "simply outstanding" entry to The Media Partnership Challenge Award.

The Global Student Forum, run by the Damaris Trust in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID) and supported by Christian Aid and World Vision, encouraged students to inform their peers of the situation using all forms of creative media.

Stratton Upper School used various means at their disposal to motivate others around them, including producing a video for YouTube , devising a petition, now 50 metres long, organising special assemblies in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday and Holocaust Memorial Day, writing articles on child soldiers in the school paper and devising a cartoon storyboard to help younger audiences visualize life for child soldiers, as well as raising funds for relevant charities.

After they receive their award on March 4 the students will bring their petition to London, meet Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy and watch a preview of the new film Johnny Mad Dog. A fiction based on fact about a 15-year-old Johnny Mad Dog heads a platoon of child soldiers - all younger than him.

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