Juba is located in the south of South Sudan, near the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. With over 500,000 inhabitants, it is the country’s biggest city and became the capital after South Sudan became independent in 2011. Political instability has continued in recent years, this has included fighting between government forces and rebels. Many people have fled hundreds of kilometres to relative safety in the south of the country, but internally displaced families are struggling. They lack access to safe water, shelter, health services or education. Assistance in rebuilding their livelihoods is urgently required.
Since 2014, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Juba.
In South Sudan, access to safe drinking water is limited. In fact, this affects around half of the people in the area. To survive, some families may be forced to drink unsafe water, which puts them at risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. The situation is further aggravated by poor hygiene practices as only around 1 in 10 people have access to improved sanitation.
These diseases remain a leading cause of death among children in South Sudan, as around 75% of all child deaths in the country are due to preventable diseases like diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia.
In South Sudan, more than two million children, meaning over 70% of children in the country, do not go to school. Many families are simply too poor to send their children to school. Children are often malnourished, which leaves them very weak and vulnerable to disease, and hence unable to attend school. In other cases, children live in pastoral communities in the rural areas around Juba, moving with their cattle and are not able to attend regular classes. Girls make up the largest group of out-of-school children in South Sudan, leaving them particularly disadvantaged.