The Republic of South Sudan is located in Central-East-Africa and has a population of almost 13 million. In 2011, after six years of autonomy, South Sudan's population voted in favour of independence from Sudan in a referendum. The new nation was full of hope for change and new beginnings. However, violence and economic difficulties have continued to mark the lives of families ever since. Millions of people have been forced to leave their homes, fleeing to other parts of South Sudan or neighbouring countries. Many families live in poverty and in many cases, parents struggle to feed their children, let alone provide them with an education.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and families at risk in South Sudan since 2011.
In South Sudan, more than 2.3 million people have been forced to leave their homes due to conflict. Around 1.6 million people have fled to other parts of South Sudan and over 650,000 live in neighbouring countries.
Children in South Sudan are in urgent need of protection. Many have lost parental care: over 10,000 children are currently registered as unaccompanied, separated or missing. The conflict also caused many families to live in very poor conditions and fighting has destroyed one third of schools in the country. One million children do not go to primary school.
In addition to violence and economic difficulties, South Sudan is also challenged by disease – in recent years, there were outbreaks of both malaria and cholera. These outbreaks are made worse by the lack of sanitation facilities: a staggering 87% of people have no access to improved sanitation facilities, such as toilets.
Children are particularly vulnerable to these water-borne illnesses and need support. In addition, the lack of health services increases the risk even further.
South Sudan remains one of the countries in Africa with the lowest income. Almost 80% of the people live in rural areas and have limited access to health care, clean drinking water, sanitation and education. Families depend on agriculture for food. Climate fluctuations and natural disasters can therefore destroy crops and drive thousands into hunger. The fighting worsened the situation for many families. Increasing food and water shortages have led to an increase of malnutrition. Currently, almost 1 in 3 people are severely food insecure, meaning they do not have enough nutritious food to lead an active and healthy life.