• We are only the first steps

  • Help us to move forward

Along with many other, we have already taken the first steps towards possible resolutions. Join us to leave your contribution.

Sign up for the Foundation

Download the form

Fondation's News

From the Soroptimist International of Europe Peace Prize 2013 the Silvana Arbia Foundation was born


"The Board and all the members of the Silvana Arbia Foundation express their sorrow, gratitude and recognition to these great people: Ambassador Attanasio, Carabiniere Iacobacci and Mustapha Milambo who sacrificed their lives for choosing to be close to people living in suffering, risky and difficult countries such as Africa.
The Silvana Arbia Foundation, which works in the Democratic Republic of Congo to promote peace, build and support children and women, wants to overcome all fears and continue on its way".

When Silvana Arbia was awarded the 2013 Soroptimist International of Europe Peace Prize (an award given to people who have distinguished themselves in the social field for peace), following her candidature presented by the Soroptimist Club of the Republic of San Marino, the decision was unanimous: that prize translated into 20,000 Euros, became the first brick of a Foundation that invests in the future of women and children in the countries of the Great Lakes in Africa in particular.
Silvana, a woman who accepted the challenge of working for almost nine years as a Prosecutor at the International Tribunal for Rwanda (I.T.C.R.), where she represented the prosecution against those responsible for the genocide of almost one million people, and then continued to deal with the victims of very serious international crimes as Registrar of the International Criminal Court. The first trial concerned the war crime of child recruitment.

The Objectives of the foundation: promote, support, build, collaborate

Now, because of the pandemic that has radically changed the lives of all of us, it has been impossible for us to carry out projects and support commitments we have recently made. However, the Foundation’s Board has promoted a competition aimed at students attending secondary school in San Marino and a lottery to create funds to be used in favour of mothers and child soldiers living in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The students will have to write a letter addressed to child soldiers and/or prepare a drawing referring to child soldiers in the world. The Board wishes to make the Foundation and its objectives known, that is why we are asking everyone for SUPPORT and PARTICIPATION.


12th November 2017

The Silvana Arbia Foundation against child soldiers

"No one is born as violent. No child in Africa, Latin America or Asia wants to be part of the war. These are situations in which children are forced to take part and, over time, since they are constantly traumatized and drugged, this becomes the norm, the only reality they know. It is easy to make a child become a soldier, but it is very difficult to get him regain the lost humanity, although it is possible." Ismael Beah - ex child soldier from Sierra Leone

Child soldiers: kidnapped minors, controllable and easily influenced; street children without a future and with no prospects, often children of the culture of violence suffered or seen inflicted; children used for kamikaze attacks, as snipers or spies; children that obey, shoot, kill or steal without asking too many questions.

It is documented that in the last decade children aged 10 to 16 took part in war conflicts in 25 countries, an immeasurable tragedy in the region of the Great Lakes of Africa, in fact it is estimated that at least 60,000 children only in Congo (but some estimate 100,000) of which over 35% are girls, are destined to war actions, the older ones. The younger children are used to bring ammunition, food supplies, or lookout stand. The girls are obliged to �satisfy� the �needs� of the soldiers. The international observers estimate that the phenomenon is in the strong growth and is destined to worsen.

The Optional Protocol of the Convention on Children�s Rights of 2000, relative to the involvement of children in armed conflicts, increases the minimum age for the participation, from 15 to 18 years (art.1) and prohibits the military conscription and forced recruitment under the age of 18 (art.2). The Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998, poses as a war crime the recruitment and the use in active participation in international or internal conflicts, of children under the age of 15. The Convention n.182 of the International Labour Organization of 1999, defines the forced recruitment of children one of �the worst forms of child labour� and it forbids it.

Despite the words of Conventions and Statutes are clear, the phenomenon of child soldiers and the violence against children, reaches dramatic levels. The Foundation Silvana Arbia, on the anniversary of its constitution, would like to draw the attention of individuals and Institutions on this fact very often forgotten.

The Foundation is aware of the priority of the involvement of the local population in its projects in order to enable the community itself to put into practice and activate its human development potential. Unfortunately, the current war scenarios and instability in the region of the Great African Lakes, make the direct interventions extremely difficult.

We will not stop, we will try to give continuity and effectiveness to our will to go on by cooperating with the community in rising awareness on the issue, in the information for the families, on prevention and on how to support child soldiers that have been demobilized and return, in case it still exists, at home.

We want to be in those communities to help build solid barriers against the children recruitment, for the protection of vulnerable children and, together, work on the ability to answer to the changes, to have an impact in the processes of recruitment of minors.

We know well that to put the rights of children and young girls before the military requirements, requires far reaching changes in values and in behaviour, and this is why it is necessary to focus on education that starts from the knowledge of the territory and from the social context.

Education could be the contribution necessary to break the cycle of poverty and war.

As a "civil" society we have a task, do not forget it.

Silvana Arbia

December 2016

"Dear friends, I am really grateful to those who are supporting our project against the recruitment of children in military operations. Women must feel particularly motivated and responsible, going into action to banish such dangerous activities which are seriously threatening the peace and dignity of all of us. Anyone's contribution, whether it is material or moral, is fundamental to face such a difficult challenge successfully. Thank you for what you're going to do. I hope I'll be able to give you good news soon."

The Aims of the Foundation

Thanks to all who wish to join us

  • Contribute to the promotion and preservation of peace

    inherent to the practice of conscription of minors in the Region of the African Grand Lakes, by reducing and even removing all impediments to accessing education and also supporting all other means for the protection of minors.

  • Prepare for the establishment of an International Convention

    for standard measures in prevention and protection.

  • Support activities against poverty

    and encourage research and data collecting.

  • Enable or establish campaigns for the prevention

    and support of children and women living in the region of the African Grand Lakes where the environmental conditions are at risk and pro- hibit all forms of personal growth and development as prescribed by the fundamental human rights.

  • Reinforce the leverage over minors of mothers

    and other female figures so as to protect them from kidnapping, abductions and all other forms of violence.

  • Cooperate with governments and non-governmental organisations

    public or private, that are confirmed as competent and are entirely neutral.


La fondazione

The Foundation Silvana Arbia was established in San Marino on the 8th of November 2014.
The Foundation was created by Magistrate Silvana Arbia who, for nearly nine years, up to 2008, served in the capacity of Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (TPIR) located in Arusha. Silvana was the accuser of those re- sponsible for the genocide of one million ethnic Tutsi who were massacred in the space of a few months, from April to July 1993, in this severely tormented African country. In 2013 she was awarded the Peace Prize of Soroptimist International of Europe, a prize intended for women who have distinguished themsel- ves in the social environment. Her candidacy was presented by the Club of San Marino that had been active for many years in Rwanda assisting women and orphans.

According to the intentions of the Magistrate, the Foundation must above all support families, and mothers in particular, so that they may resist and react to the abduction of their sons. We must work for a collective awareness so that violence against human beings may cease.

Right now the Foundation is still relatively small, but the aim is to make it better known so that as it grows it can raise awa- reness among the populations and particularly amidst all the members of all the clubs of Soroptimist International.

The African region of the Great Lakes

During the last ten years, the African Region of the Great Lakes has been the scene of fierce fighting where millions of people lost their lives, hundreds of millions became refugees and/ or displaced persons.

"The Greek philosopher Plato wrote that society is composed of three social strata: the agriculturists, the soldiers and the wise. The first must, through their labour, provide for the material wellbeing of the population; the second must defend their city against its enemies; the third must rule the Republic.
Beware of the State that is governed by soldiers!".

Alas, the words of Plato have gone unheeded in the Region of the Great Lakes where the military are prepared for anything provided the can conquer and remain in power.



A selection of documents to explore the world of child soldiers


Child soldiers in Africa

Children and Youth at the ICC: Participation, Protection and Reparations

A practice that must end

"My squad is my family, my gun is my provider, and protector, and my rule is to kill or be killed."
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


We look for partners, sponsors and support to carry out activities

Foundation headquarters

Via Ca' dei Lunghi, 50
47893, Borgo Maggiore
Republic of San Marino


Mobile: 331 94 29 336