Malakal is located in the South Sudan's Upper Nile Province; the country's oil-producing heartland. It was a key garrison town of the Sudanese government forces during the Second Sudanese Civil War, and troops remained in situ until after independence in 2011. It remains a strategically important city, and has been the site of much fighting in the conflict of 2013-14.
Our Children's Village in Malakal has provided care to children since 2002, nearly a decade before South Sudan gained independence. Like many other communities, it has been affected by the ongoing violence, and in February 2014 it became the rebels' headquarters in Upper Nile Province.
We were forced to evacuate all SOS families in March 2014 when the situation became too dangerous for them to remain in Malakal. They are currently safe in the capital Juba, where they moved into a temporary Children's Village.
At this time of crisis, you can help by sponsoring a child. Child sponsorship with SOS Children enables you to help a vulnerable child grow and thrive in the care of an SOS mother:
A turbulent history
In 2005, Sudan and the autonomous region of Southern Sudan signed a peace deal after decades of fighting. Six years later, Southern Sudan achieved independence to become South Sudan. Despite the agreement, sporadic fighting has affected border regions ever since. As a key border city, Malakal has held onto its status as a strategic hub.
In late 2013, violence erupted yet again in South Sudan when former Deputy President Riek Machar allegedly staged a coup against President Salwar Kiir. The fighting quickly spread from the capital Juba to Bor in Jonglei Province, and eventually came to Malakal in late December. Despite a ceasefire agreement in late January, intermittent fighting continued to affect the city. Looting left shops, the market and banks without supplies or money. In February 2014, it became the regional headquarters of the rebel forces, forcing us to evacuate the Children's Village.
Our role in Malakal
Responding to conflict
SOS Children has been a key presence in Malakal throughout the upheaval of recent decades. As years of civil war took its toll on Sudanese families, we began emergency relief in 1998 to help thousands of people left without food, shelter and medical care.
Over the years, the conflict forced more than four million southerners from their home. As our relief work continued, we saw that many children affected by the war needed permanent care. In 2002, we opened our Children's Village in Malakal so we could provide that care ourselves.
As peace talks progressed in 2004, we began working with child soldiers; helping them rebuild a childhood. By providing support and skills training, we helped them reintegrate into civilian society. By 2009, we had succeeded in reuniting most of them with their families.
Our Children's Village
Until early 2014, our Children's Village provided a loving home for children who had lost their families in Malakal. However, we were forced to evacuate our Village in March 2014 when the situation became too dangerous. SOS families are currently living in. SOS mothers are pleased to report that the and have really “brightened up” since they moved in. We are currently working on a permanent Children's Village near Juba where children where we will provide a long-term home to the children in our care.
Help our work
The best way to help during the current crisis is to sponsor a child in South Sudan. This way, you can be sure that your child will grow up with the best of care.
Child sponsorship is a commitment that will last long after the conflict of today: