Seven years of South Sudan
This week South Sudan celebrates it’s seventh year of independence, making it the newest country in the world. However, it is also one of the poorest. Two years after its independence in 2011 civil war broke out and, for the last five years, it has been suffering from an ongoing political, tribal and ethnic conflict. This has left tens of thousands of people dead and seven million people requiring humanitarian assistance. Despite their troubles, there are also 287, 400 refugees from neighbouring countries including Sudan who are seeking refuge in South Sudan as well as 1.82 million internally displaced peoples (IDP). There is no or little access to employment, education or assistance from the government for these refugees.
Jesuit Missions is supporting Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) East Africa who are supporting refugees and IDP’s in the regions of Juba, Mamba and Yambio in South Sudan. Their work focuses on providing access to psychosocial counselling and training, peace building, girls education and teacher training.
In Maban, Jesuit Missions supports a day-care centre which cares for 180 disabled children and their mothers from the host and refugee community. Many of the mothers did not know anything about their child’s disability before attending. The trained staff provide physical therapy and massage exercises for children who suffer from down syndrome, cerebral palsy, polio and spina bifida. It is a place of renewed hope for families who are able to see new potential in their children and learn more about their disabilities. In addition to this, JRS run social centres for women providing opportunities for women to learn new skills improving their chances of gaining employment as well as providing psychosocial support.
Jane Tambua is someone who has benefitted from the teacher training schemes being provided in Yambio. She will soon be receiving her diploma from Mikese university. While studying for her diploma, she has also been teaching in a school full time. She is the only female teacher at the school ensuring the girls in the school have a mentor and positive female role model.
She says, “Because of the scholarship I can learn and teach at the same time. It feels good to be the only female teacher at King’s College, because I can guide the girls and help them focus on their education.”
There is also a community and school-based peace building initiative that provides mediation and workshops for those encouraging peace rather than violence.
In 2017, Jesuit Missions enabled JRS East Africa to serve 17, 286 people across South Sudan through the different training and workshops offered. You can help us to increase that number in 2018 by donating to Jesuit Missions. We always ensure that the money goes to where there is the greatest need.