South Sudan is a country in dire need of assistance. Having seceded from Sudan over a decade ago, the fledgling nation’s history has been fraught with conflict between its government and armed opposition groups. The fighting stopped in 2018 when South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and the leader of the main opposition force agreed on a peace deal. The opposition leader became the vice president and he and Kiir have been working toward unity and a new constitution.
However, the South Sudanese people are still in trouble. More than 60% of the population is facing food insecurity, the country is chronically underdeveloped and extensive flooding devastates many areas. Here are five charities operating in South Sudan.
5 Charities Operating in South Sudan
- Sudan Relief Fund: The Sudan Relief Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit religious organization founded in 1998 and is dedicated to bringing food, safe drinking water, clothing, shelter and medical attention to the people of South Sudan. The organization seeks to aid in the development of infrastructure necessary for South Sudan’s growth and stability. Some of its accomplishments include the Catholic University of South Sudan, which the organization helped build and continues to fund, and the “Mother of Mercy” hospital which is a full-scale hospital with 400 beds. Moreover, the organization also provided more than $5 million in support to South Sudan in 2021. Many of the South Sudan Relief Fund’s operations and aid efforts take place right in South Sudan, ensuring that most of the donations go right to where people need them.
- International Rescue Committee (IRC): The IRC is a global humanitarian aid, relief and development 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. The organization operates in more than 40 crisis-affected countries and has assisted in some of the worst humanitarian crises like Afghanistan and currently Ukraine. South Sudan is one of the countries the IRC aids and the country is under a “crisis watch,” according to the IRC website. On October 17, 2021, the IRC issued a statement about its emergency response to assist the South Sudanese people affected by conflict, disease and flooding.
- Helping Hands for South Sudan: Helping Hands for South Sudan is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity based in Palo Alto, CA. Its founder, Gabriel Akim Nyok, is a Sudanese refugee and was one of the “Lost Boys and Girls of South Sudan,” the nickname for the 20,000+ children who fled from southern Sudan during the civil war. He came to the United States in 2006 and has since taken multiple trips to South Sudan and Uganda to meet with locals, school officials and refugees. His goal is to help facilitate educational needs in the country and previously sponsored the education of South Sudanese children. Nyok has direct involvement in the charity’s operations as its chairman. About 99% of donations go directly to children and a donation of $500 can sponsor a child’s education for a whole year.
- Water for South Sudan: Founded in 2008, Water for South Sudan is a charity that helps provide people with clean and safe water through sustainable means. Its founder, Salva Dut, was also a “Lost Boy,” like Gabriel Nyok. The charity takes a collaborative approach by leveraging its existing resources and using them to work alongside communities in need to build or repair water wells. Its projects also include building latrines and commencing hygiene education programs to improve water practices. According to 2021’s report, the charity received more than $1.9 million in contributions and drilled 48 new wells, rebuilt 48 wells and successfully taught 99 hygienic training practices.
- Hope Ofiriha: Hope Ofiriha is an NGO registered in Norway and with the South Sudanese government. It has a 501(c)(3) status in the U.S. Its mission is to assist women and children in overcoming social injustice, disease, poverty and illiteracy in Magwi County, one of the poorest and most remote places in the world. According to Hope Ofiriha’s website, its small-scale grassroots projects aim to act as a “hand-up,” not as handouts. The categories of its projects are education, health care, agriculture, child sponsorship, microcredit and the environment. The NGO was originally founded in 1996 as a group that provided agricultural workshops to widows to give them the skills necessary to become self-reliant. Although the organization has grown tremendously since then, its sentiment of helping women (and now children) become self-sufficient has remained the same.
These five charities operating in South Sudan are making a substantial difference in the country because of their direct approaches and willingness to garner input from the South Sudanese people.
– Matthew Wikfors