South Sudanese Narrates How He Moved From Being Dependent To Independent

With many South Sudanese looking for jobs particularly the youth, some have even given up looking. A tight job market, the skills gap between what employers want and what prospective employees have to offer have kept jobseekers on the sidelines.

South Sudanese Narrates How He Moved From Being Dependent To Independent
Ustaz Mayom Deng Chol - Standing in front of his charging kiosk at Suk Lualdit Market [Photo| Ariik Atekdit]

By Ariik Atekdit

JUBA, 22 June 2016 [Gurtong] – As a South Sudanese young graduate explains to Gurtong, it has been five years down the line since he finished his university studies yet cannot see his dreams and ambitions unfold.

Mayom Deng Chol, 30 years of age is now advising his colleagues; jobseekers to find ways of being self-employed and be independent so as to lessen the burden on relatives who they solely depend on especially during this times when the economy is deteriorating.

With unemployment rate increasing especially among the youth majority of the people looking for jobs remain unemployed in the country and their ambitions thrown away, according to Mayom.

“We should stop depending solely on our relatives. This does not work especially at this time when our economy is so poor and no jobs available for youth. People are only engaged in wars and the government has forgotten the substantial responsibility it should take to provide productive citizens,” Mayom said.

Mayom, who graduated from the Faculty of Education, immediately got employed as a teacher in Upper Nile’s Melut County; a job he held for three years until the war broke out in 2013.  Thereafter, Mayom fled Melut to Juba where he ended up as jobless graduate.

In the recent months he has lost hope in looking for white collar job and with the inflation rate and staggering economy of the country, he opted not go for the teaching profession in Juba which has a poor salary. He is now operating a kiosk in which he charges people’s phones and other electronics at Suk Lualdit Market in Hai Referendum suburb.

“I had lived at tea places from morning to sun set without doing anything. With my group we had to remain there always hopeless and our dreams becoming unclear or doom. Looking for white collar jobs in South Sudan is not that easy and for that reason I opted to operate a charging Centre in the area. I had no uncle, a big official to recommend me for a job,” said Mayom during his interview.

“We were visiting friends and relatives to give us some money to spend for at least two to three days. Sometimes one cannot afford a cup of tea. This was a very bad experience until I finally made up my mind to take up an odd job. Most of today’s graduates would dare not do what I am doing now,” he said.

On the contrary, Mayom appreciates what he gets in his small business saying it is better than the salaries he earned while teaching in Melut Secondary School two years back.

Mayom declines to reveal his daily income but says, “In reality, I am now earning better in my new odd job. When I was a teacher, my salary was less than SSP 1000; this is an amount that can easily get finished without buying for yourself clothes or a sock. It was not enough. Now, one can help his family and life is going on well.”

“Sometimes people can look at you strangely” he said, “South Sudanese don’t expect graduates to operate odd jobs. They think that it is not decent for knowledgeable people to do such simple jobs. I want to encourage my people never to listen to such ideas.”

When asked whether he is dreaming to return to his teaching profession, he responded by decrying the underpayment of South Sudanese teachers.

“Teachers are the ones doing the most important work in the nation. This is a responsibility of teaching the generation that we want to inherit this beautiful South Sudan. It is teachers that give knowledge to pupils and students to be leaders in the nation and become important people in other professions but they are not well-paid,” he lamented.

“Teachers remain teachers forever and their children become poor because their parents were very busy teaching the world to get rich without them (teachers) having money. So what must we do as teachers? We must take up other jobs while continuing with our profession. I will surely return to teach but not now,” he added.


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