SOS Children in South Sudan
South Sudan is the world's newest country, and was born out of two decades of civil war. 2013-14 saw renewed violence, driving hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, including vast numbers of children. We work in Malakal, in the country's north-east, providing care to some of South Sudan's most vulnerable children.
With SOS Children, you can help give a child with no one else a loving family for life:
South Sudan today
South Sudan is one of Africa's poorest countries. Less than two thirds have access to drinking water, and less than a third of people are literate. Disease is rife, partly due to poor sanitation and exacerbated by inadequate healthcare. The majority of people rely on agriculture for their day-to-day-survival. This leaves the population vulnerable to climate variation and natural disaster, and a bad harvest can drive the already poor further into poverty.
The shadow of civil war
Sudan's 22-year civil war came to an end with peace talks in 2005, culminating in independence for the country's south in 2011 and the creation of South Sudan. The aftermath of the conflict still hangs over many people's lives. Many displaced Sudanese people still reside in South Sudan, particularly in the north, with little hope of a future in their home country.
Recent months have brought a renewed fighting to South Sudan after an alleged coup by the former deputy president. Like many other communities, our Children's Village in Malakal has been affected, and sporadic violence continues despite a ceasefire agreement.
Children let down by poor education and healthcare
South Sudan has an overwhelmingly young population. Just under half of the population are aged below 18, compared with 17% of the UK population. Infant mortality stands is close to 70 children out of every thousand, whereas in Britain it is 4.5.
Nearly two thirds of 6-11 year olds never attend school. The recent conflict has damaged learning even further, with numerous schools closing across the country to provide shelter to refugees. Hundreds of thousands of children have been forced from home with their families. For all of these children, education has been interrupted and for many, it is not clear when or if they will return to school.
With conditions hard in South Sudan at the best of times, education is vital if individuals and communities are to escape poverty.
Our work in South Sudan
Our work here goes back to 1998, when the autonomous region then known as southern Sudan was at war with the Kingdom of Sudan in an attempt to gain independence.
Emergency relief in a fragmenting nation
Four million people in southern Sudan had lost their homes after years of fighting. By this time, many of these people faced desperate hardship, and were urgently in need of basics such as food and shelter. We provided food for more than 2,300 people, and shelter and healthcare for 330.
As the conflict came to an end, another tragedy emerged. Many children had been recruited as soldiers in the civil war. These youngsters had been forced to do things that no child should ever have to do. We set up a programme to help reintegrate these children into their communities, and to provide them with basic training to enable them to participate in civil society. By 2009, we had reunited most of them with their own families.
Our SOS Children's Village in Malakal
In 2002, we opened a Children's Village in the north-eastern city of Malakal to care for children who have lost their families. For each child, we provide a new SOS family in the company of a host of SOS brothers and sisters who grow up with the love of an SOS Mother. The children attend local schools, and when they have completed their secondary education, prepare for adult life with the support of SOS staff on our youth programme.
Is Malakal affected by the current crisis?
Malakal is a strategic stronghold at times of conflict. Over the years, this has led to great need in the area, and that is why we came here. Like many communities across the country, it has been caught up in the recent violence. We are working with our national and regional teams as well as the UN to make sure our children are safe.
We will be in Malakal long after the violence has come to an end, providing care and protection for the most vulnerable members of society long into the future.
SOS Children's Villages Association of Sudan
Gomhoria St., P.O.Box 1988
Tel +249/183/78 1419, +249/183/78 2072
Fax +249/183/77 1621