On April 8th 2012, the government of Sudan plans to move 2,000 vulnerable children over its border into South Sudan. They are expected to be taken from the streets and orphanages and sent by train.
They will be transported to unfamiliar places for reasons they cannot understand. And many of these children will be unaccompanied – they will have no relatives to protect them when they reach the other side.
We can all imagine how these children will feel – separated from their families, alone and forcibly sent to an unknown world with no-one to take care of them.
SOS Children are preparing to help these children. So, today, we are asking you to help us please with whatever you may be able to afford.
The fighting between Sudan and South Sudan has grown increasingly dangerous in recent days. The Sudanese government’s forced repatriation of these 2,000 children is part of that conflict.
We are very concerned for the welfare of these children. During the civil war that led to South Sudan becoming its own nation, the United Nations monitored cases of violence against abandoned children. Many were forced into labour, sexually abused, trafficked, and recruited as child soldiers.
Over the next eight months, SOS Children will provide emergency rescue centres to shelter, protect and help reunify as many of these unaccompanied children with relatives in the south as possible.
SOS Children has cared for orphaned and abandoned children in the Sudan region for more than 35 years. Our emergency rescue centres will be ready next Sunday but we need your support.
The relationship between recently-divided Sudan and South Sudan has deteriorated in recent months leading to outbreaks of violence. Thousands of families and unaccompanied children fled from South Sudan to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. The Sudanese Government's plan to return these internally displaced families and unaccompanied children to South Sudan on Sunday will potentially cause a humanitarian crisis.
On their return the families and children are expected to pass through the cities of Juba and Malakal, where SOS Children has a children's village. It opened in 2002.
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs of South Sudan has asked SOS Children, amongst other NGOs, to provide support for the return of the 2,000 unaccompanied children.
To help children caught up in this emergency:
- We have set up two emergency rescue centres in Juba and Malakal, which will provide temporary care for the refugees as they enter the country.
- We will care for 400 children across these two Villages.
- Two ‘child friendly spaces’ will help children cope with trauma while they remain in our care.
- We will seek to reunite children with their families. Those who cannot return to their families will find a loving home in our Village in Malakal.
Our work in South Sudan
The Republic of South Sudan, where SOS Children’s Village Malakal is now situated, became an independent state on the 9th July 2011 following a referendum taken in January 2011 in which nearly 99% voted in favour of separation from Sudan. SOS Children's Village Malakal consists of 10 family houses which are home to 100 children.