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Second Opoka Award goes to …

By December 16, 2023Print

End Child Soldiering is proud to announce that the Second Opoka Award will go to the Grassroots Reconciliation Group for $5,000!

Grassroots Reconciliation Group Founding Director Sasha Lezhnev said, “We are deeply honored to receive the Second Opoka Award. We will use it to help rehabilitate former child soldiers in the remote areas where help is needed most, where many traumatized former child soldiers are suicidal. 

Horrific atrocities were committed during the conflict in northern Uganda, and the war trauma among former child soldiers and survivors of the conflict is still very high. We will use the award to help heal communities through trauma counseling and offer hope through microfinance, entrepreneurship, and livelihood projects.” 

Founded in 2007, the Grassroots Reconciliation Group empowers former child soldiers and reconciles them with their communities through trauma counseling, microfinance, small business, peacebuilding, and livelihood projects for less than $40,000 per year.  GRG has helped rehabilitate over 2,600 former child soldiers and community members to date.  

A special thanks to all those who donated to this cause, including Christy Hoke, George Yuchi, Jane Berkey, Margaret Ruley, Lindsey Lambaz, Emily Price, American Online Giving Foundation, Inc., Kevin Collinsworth, Dave Findlay, David Browning, and Zachary Ager.  

If you want to donate, please click here or visit our website,

If any organization that helps to end the use of children as soldiers would like to be considered for the next award, please email [email protected].

The Opoka Award is named for Anthony and Florence Opoka, two former child soldiers who escaped the Lord’s Resistance Army, started a family, and went on to help many other former child soldiers assimilate back into society.  

The story of Anthony and Florence Opoka was told in the documentary entitled “My Star in the Sky” and in the soon-to-be-released book “All the Glimmering Stars.”