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Homelessness in South SudanSituated in Central East Africa, South Sudan holds the title of the newest country in the world. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, an agreement ending the longest recorded civil war in Africa. In the midst of conflict, people were forced out of homes and into the streets. This created a large population of poverty and homelessness in South Sudan.

The Effect of the Civil War

Rampaged by civil war and the aftermath of independence, 20% of South Sudan has been homeless since 2013. After the falling out between President Salva Kiir of the Dinka ethnic group and former Vice president Machar of the Nuer ethnic group, violence exploded throughout the newly founded country.

The conflict created 2.2 million displaced people within the country and forced one million people to become refugees. Because of the eviction from homes, people lacked access to their fields, starting a severe famine. Many homeless people reside in camps because they have a bit of food. Although the civil war ceased in 2018 with a mutual peace agreement, there are 1.76 million displaced people in the country.

Children in Need

4.2 million children need immediate assistance due to homelessness in South Sudan. Many children live on the streets after losing their families in the war, being forced into the workforce to sustain themselves. Due to the chaos, the education rate rests at 28%. Education provides students the ability to become professionals in their chosen route of study. It also starts a “brain gain” effect within the country. Students could earn money for their household and start building homes for their families.

Famine and Healthcare

As a result of the war, six million people lack proper water and meals. The United Nations estimated that around 12 million people are hungry every second in South Sudan. Without nourishment, there isn’t enough energy to suffice labor-heavy work. This makes them unable to sustain their household.

According to WHO, South Sudan has one of the world’s weakest healthcare systems. It also has the weakest poor quality treatment and limited resources. Along with malaria and other common diseases, the country reported over 2,000 cases of COVID-19. This puts a toll on the healthcare system, lacking both facilities and skilled healthcare workers. Homeless people live shorter lives when stripped from proper healthcare. With the body prepared and treated to bounce back from viruses, homeless people have the energy to make a living.

Change in Action

Despite the dire situation of the country, many organizations have volunteered their efforts to rehabilitate this promising country. For example, the International Rescue Committee provides over 1.1 million people in South Sudan with medical treatments and healthcare facilities. The organization has been at the country’s aid for over two decades, rehabilitating sanitation systems and giving out food. World Concern has set out to rebuild villages by providing people with food, shelter and clean water. It does this in hopes of creating a sustainable way of life. In 2018, World Vision sponsored 700 children to return to education, reuniting them with their families along the way. With help like this, homelessness amongst children can be reduced drastically and prevented in the future.

 

It may seem pessimistic at times for these communities, but homelessness is close to disintegration. Helping people gain access to their basic needs supplies them with the foundation to rise above homelessness and poverty. The country is full of potential; once chaos runs through homelessness in South Sudan, their light will shine.

Zoe Chao
Photo: Flickr

world concern
World Concern is a nonprofit organization devoted to transforming the lives of deeply impoverished people. Founded by pharmacist Jim McCoy and Doctor Wilbert Saunders in 1955, the organization was intended to provide resources to hospitals and clinics overseas.

In 1976, the functions of World Concern shifted dramatically when they realized that sending medicines and medical supplies was not enough to aid countries affected by a variety of crisis. They began sending passionate volunteers and expert to work on the ground with people living in the targeted community.

In addition to long-term support, they offer emergency relief support to countries that have experienced earth quakes and tsunamis among other situations. Their most recent contribution to relief was after the devastating earthquake.

World Concern is revolutionary because they work in some of the world’s most diseased and dangerous places. Some of these locations include Darfur, Myanmar, Somalia, Ethiopia and Rwanda. In some of the countries World Concern works, literacy rates are as low as 25 percent. A committed staff of approximately 900 people work on behalf of World Concern’s mission to aid poor communities.

In addition, 90 percent of the donations World Concern receives go to their programs abroad. They are transparent with their fiscal information to ensure that money is being maximized where it is most effective. Fundraising takes up only 5.2 percent of all expenses and promotions. 4.7 percent goes to management and general administrative duties.

World Concern is devoted to providing clean water to communities. Clean water is pertinent to maintaining the health of the people living in the community. They bring in wells and latrines to facilitate better hygiene and access to clean water.

Another service they provide is bettering children’s access to education. Many children in these poor communities have to walk for miles and the classes are usually held is sub standard conditions either outside or in very informal settings.

In poor communities of developing countries the way that most people earn a living is through farming. These forms of subsistence living are vulnerable to food insecurity; reliance on environmental conditions and floods and drought greatly affect the income stability.

World Concern is devoted to the long-term solutions to working out solutions in some of the world’s poorest communities. They foster a sense of hope through providing access to education and clean water.

– Maxine Gordon

Sources: CRISTA Ministries, World Concern
Photo: World Concern