Children of South Sudan
The world’s youngest country, South Sudan, turns five years old on July 9, 2016.
Though the founding of this nation was a moment of hope, that hope turned to despair in 2013 when armed conflict broke out. Five-year-old children in South Sudan know nothing of peace. The statistics are difficult to take in, and there are REAL people behind these numbers:
- 2.3 million South Sudanese (1/5 of the country) have been forced to flee their homes since the war broke out.
- 5.1 million people, (nearly ½ of the country) are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
- 680,000 children in South Sudan are malnourished.
- Only ¼ of what is needed to help South Sudan recover has been raised through international funding.
When I think about what my children were doing at age five, the contrast between them and the children of South Sudan is stunning. Getting ready for kindergarten, playing with new store-bought toys, having snacks and juice pouches whenever they were cranky, and going to bed each night in a warm safe bed. My kids’ favorite activity was going to the park and playing on the playground, then having a picnic lunch in a fun, safe environment. These things we take for granted are just a hope and dream for the precious five-year-old children of South Sudan.
Here are a few profiles of real children for you to get to know a little better:
Five-year-old Nyasunday has lived in a UN camp since her home was burned down. Every day, she helps her mother carry buckets of drinking water. Along with Nyasunday, everyone in the camp relies on aid groups like CARE for water. Nyasunday was severely malnourished before CARE provided her food.
Five-year-old Zeieya lost her home as it was destroyed when war came to her town in 2014. Little Zeieya helps care for her family’s goat, which they hope will have a kid so the family will have milk to drink. Summer temperature soar above 100 degrees where Zeieya lives, and there aren’t enough wells, so kids often drink dirty water.
Zeieya has no toys, but her favorite game is pretending to grind sorghum to eat. Instead of going to school, she spends hours each day collecting firewood for money.
After losing her home due to fighting in South Sudan, Chianyal lived in a forest. Now sheltered in a UN camp, she depends on aid groups for water. Called ‘unprecedented’ by the UN, the current malaria outbread hit Chianyal, who contracted it in May and still gets a fever at night. Chianyal skips rope and makes mud figurines with other kids in the camp, but she doesn’t go to school so she can look after her baby sister Nyanen
What can we do to help?
*Photographs in this story–copyright CARE photographersShare this: