Escaping the life of a child soldier:
Michel Chikwanine grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a beautiful place with lush jungles and a vibrant culture. He had a pretty normal childhood with loving parents and siblings and a large community of friends and neighbors. However there was turmoil and conflict in his country. Everything in his life changed the day he was taken captive and forced to become a child soldier.
Michel Chikwanine on life in Africa
In this interview Michel talks about what life was like growing up in Africa, while also discussing the positive impact his parents have had on his life. He also talks about what happened the day he was taken captive and how he escaped the life of a child soldier, and the split second decision that led him to freedom and back to his family.
Speaking and spreading a message of peace
Due to the threats to their lives and having to leave the country, Michel Chikwanine and his family became refugees and immigrated to Canada. Today, Michel is a United Nations Fellow for People of African Descent, an accomplished motivational speaker, leadership facilitator and award-winning author of a children’s book titled Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War. Addressing audiences across the world, he has spoken to over 500,000 people. From 2007 to 2009 he was on Oprah’s O Ambassadors Roots of Action tour, where he coordinated and facilitated a speaking tour as well as leadership workshops which largely reached students at resource-poor schools. He’s worked on various global initiatives with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Martin Sheen and Magic Johnson including being on the Advisory Board of General Romeo Dallaire’s Child Soldier Initiative.