A Long Journey to Safety

Some 1.8 million people inside South Sudan have been forced from their homes as a result of violence and poverty. Children form a staggering 70 per cent of this displaced population and are exposed to multiple threats to their safety. Find out how War Child works to provide protection to children like Jok and Mab.

Living in the midst of armed conflict and being forced from your home is traumatic. Having to experience displacement a second time is horrific. Losing one’s parents in the process is unspeakable. And being exposed to further harm before finally finding safety is unimaginable.

This was the experience of siblings Jok and Mab who grew up in South Sudan. Both were orphaned when Jok was ten years old and were exposed to domestic violence and child labour at the hands of their step-mother. Life was so hard that Jok would wish she had died together with her mother and father.

War Child has been present in Jonglei State with projects offering protection and psychosocial support to vulnerable children affected by conflict. Through her participation in our project Jok was put in touch with professionals who helped her and her brother address the abuses that they suffered from their step-mother.

Jok and Mob eventually moved to live with another relative, where their well-being is closely monitored by their uncle, who agreed to serve as their guardian during the mediation process.

Finding their voice

Jok and Mab attended activities in one of our Child Friendly Spaces and also participated in structured recreational activities. Jok took part in a local radio programme and spoke out on child rights as part of our project. Both children were also enrolled in the local primary school and are members of the ‘peer advocacy’ group in their community. There they share their experiences and help raise awareness of child rights and child protection both to their peers and to the adults in their community.

Jok and Mab continue to participate in these activities today. “I love to come to the Child Friendly Space every day,” says Jok.

“I thank everyone who helped me cope with the death of my parents, and helped me move from my difficult life with my bad step-mother to my caring uncle.”