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Sofia's Story
East Timor
January 2001
Age: 12 years

The scar that runs across Sofia's beautiful face is the outward reminder of the inner trauma she suffered at the age of nine.

Her family were the victims of the fighting in East Timor that broke out in 1999.

Emotional scars have injured Sofia even more than the machete scar that serves as a reminder of the day her world fell apart. The militiaman who attacked Sofia used the same weapon to kill her mother - as Sofia and her 12-year-old brother Lucio helplessly watched. The children's father was killed by other militia in the same attack.

Sofia and Lucio become speechless when asked about their parents. Sofia silently points to the place behind their home where her mother was killed while her brother shows the spot where his father was murdered.

"When they (militia) cut my face I was afraid I would be next," Sofia says as she remembers the day she saw her mother killed. She was hit on her left thigh and Lucio was also hit on his thigh by the militia and carries the scar.

"I still have bad dreams about someone trying to kill me," said Sofia.

Today, Lucio and Sofia live with their aunt and uncle, next door to their old house and near where their uncle has buried their parents. Both Lucio and Sofia have continued to go to school and World Vision has helped them with school supplies.