9 January 2017

Children find safety amid uncertainty in South Sudan

After the SOS Children's Village in Juba, South Sudan, had to be evacuated in July 2016, the SOS families are settling in at their temporary homes in the South Sudanese capital. Life has slowly returned to normal for the children despite the ongoing security challenges in the country.



The SOS Children’s Village in Juba, which opened in early 2015, was evacuated on 11 July 2016 as fighting gripped the capital. The children were quickly moved to safety, leaving behind nearly everything they had.
 


Even toothbrushes were left as the village was evacuated. Following the move, SOS Children’s Villages launched an emergency programme to provide health and emotional care, as well as educational and food support for the more than 120 children and young people in SOS Children's Villages care. The relief programme also helps vulnerable families near the temporary village.
 


SOS co-worker Isaac James Adwok (centre) talks to children from the SOS Children’s Village outside the gates of the temporary village. Isaac was instrumental in evacuating the village in Malakal three years ago and again in helping to lead the children to safety in Juba in July.
 


The houses that have been rented to provide a temporary home for the more than 120 children and young people in SOS care aren’t as spacious as the SOS Children’s Village, but the compound offers a safe place to play, relax and eat.
 

Children wait for a breakfast of tea, bread, boiled eggs and fruit.
 

Televisions, computers, books and most other household items were lost when the SOS Children’s Village in Juba was looted during an outbreak of fighting in July. For entertainment, the families today gather around a laptop to watch TV.
 


When school is closed for holidays, boys spend their afternoons playing football in a field close to their temporary homes.
 


Although conditions at the rented homes in are cramped compared to the abandoned village, the children find ways to pass their time with games and activities.
 


Nurse Achol Ajak Nyibong manages the small dispensary at the temporary village. She has had to re-equip and re-supply the health facility since the one at the SOS Children’s Village was also looted in July.

Photos by Ashley Hamer


Background

In December 2013, some 80 children and 40 young people under the care of SOS Children’s Villages in Malakal, along with 30 co-workers, were evacuated because of fighting and looting of the SOS Children’s Village. Three months later they were moved to Juba, the capital.
 
The SOS Children’s Village, youth facility, and family strengthening programme in Juba opened in January 2015. Fighting that erupted in the capital in early July 2016 forced the SOS families to evacuate to housing elsewhere in the city. Today there are more than 120 children and young people in SOS care living in rental housing.
 

Watch our video about our current work in South Sudan: