Different Groups Calling For Protection Of Children In South Sudan

“By the way, for your information, get it right from me the truth..! We the street boys are not joking here but we honestly serve our families. We struggle to collect some part of the money to them in which in turn, use it to purchase our foodstuffs for our homes' welfare...."

Different Groups Calling For Protection Of Children In South Sudan
A mother of four, Sabina Kay with her children in the company of other children, pose for a photo in Torit [Photo| Peter Lokale]

By Peter Lokale Nakimangole

TORIT, 22 June 2016 [Gurtong] – South Sudanese Civil Society Organisations joined by international organisations, have rallied for the country's support to children.

In Eastern Equatoria, women organisations’ leaders have voiced out a call saying time to support the South Sudanese children must begin now so that the country starts its future development progressively.

They have noted with great concern the increased number of children loitering in the streets in most of the towns across the region.

Lily Hidita Nartiso, who heads the Business Community in Imatong State, urges the government and international organisations including individuals, to consider pouring in their support to destitute children who according to her should be channelled either in form of kind or cash contributions.

She says rescuing the children out of their present deplorable situations which exist due to absence of parental care, requires humanity from every person.

One of the Civil Society Activists, Charles Okullu, notes that the number of homeless children in the region has desperately increased, and that it may destabilize the country at large since it multiplies each day with crimes being widespread rapidly posing regional threat.

He calls on parents to show responsibility as he advises every South Sudanese to collectively contribute in helping the street children.

Some of the street children can be categorised as follows; some of them are being raised by a single parent, some are orphans while others have both parents but do not have the ability to care for the children.

Some of the kids live together with their families in the streets struggling to survive with a meagre living by toiling odd jobs.

Saturnino Oburak, a South Sudanese says non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the region should step up and have a joint effort to support these children.

He notes that in Juba alone, the city is already congested, according to recent statistics conducted by local organizations.

Gurtong has taken its time to interact with a number of helpless kids in Torit with an intention of establish why they have found themselves on the street. They defend that it is not their making but because they have been forced to do so to survive. They roam the markets searching for food.

Among the odd jobs done by some of them, they reveal, include polishing shoes for the white collar job employees in return for 2 or 3 SSP which enables them to raise some funds to their poor families.

“By the way, for your information, get it right from me the truth..! We the street boys are not joking here but we honestly serve our families. We struggle to collect some part of the money to them in which in turn, use it to purchase our foodstuffs for our homes' welfare. Take it from me as first-hand experience," affirms a 14-year-old Kwaja Christopher.

Lokwar Jackson is one of the street kids who who said each day he has to raise up to 50 SSP and divide part of it for a single meal and the rest he takes to his mother at home every late evening.

Contacting one of the government's officials in the government of Imatong State, Rev. Johnson Sebit, he said his government is concerned and that the National Transitional Legislative Assembly was working on a draft legislation to protect South Sudanese children who take jobs in unsafe conditions across the country.

South Sudan joined the African Continent in commemorating the Day of the African Child marked every year on 16th June. The theme for this year is Conflict and Crisis in Africa: “Protecting all children’s rights.”

Meanwhile, Peter Walsh, Save the Children’s Country Director for South Sudan has called on the country’s Unity Government to urgently elevate the Child Protection Agenda for children affected by the conflict and to prioritize the protection of life and wellbeing of South Sudanese children.

He urges the leaders of the Transitional government of National Unity to enforce inclusive social and protective systems that respond to every child’s needs, whether in war or in peace.
 

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