In a shocking expose from the BBC, one Alex Turyaritunga came forward to make some very serious allegations that implicate the Catholic Church in present-day child labour.
“I was a child soldier, nothing can take that away from my memory,” he tells the BBC. “I remember the war in 1994. I had a gun around my shoulder.”
Today, Mr Turyaritunga is a nurse with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Uganda.
He was raised in Kabale, a town nestled in the hills of south-west Uganda. Standing on the hillside, children play in Rwandan schoolyards on the other side of the steep inclines of Kabale.
But in the mid-1990s, during the time of the Rwandan genocide, it was the sound of war that echoed across the border.
After the death of his father when he was a young child, he says that he was lost and without direction until members of the Catholic Church helped his mother pay for his education and that of his four siblings.
“They helped me be what I am today,” he says.
Now, aged 32, Mr Turyaritunga’s view on the Catholic Church has changed.
Earlier this year, Mr Turyaritunga made allegations to the BBC about child labour taking place on Church-owned land in Kabale.
He alleged that children as young as 10 were working on a tea plantation on the land, and that the Catholic Church was profiting.
Child labour is without doubt a big issue in Uganda, where the UN estimates that there are three million child workers. The latest figures estimate that 30% of children aged between five and 14 are engaged in child labour, despite 14 being the earliest age where it is legal for a child to work. Read More