The 2012 Miss Malaika Sets Date with Homeless Elders on Valentine’s Day

A group of homeless elders in Juba are set to have an extra ordinary date with the 2012 Miss Malaika Josephine Awien on Valentine's Day.

The 2012 Miss Malaika Sets Date with Homeless Elders on Valentine’s Day
Miss Malaika 2012 Josephine Awien on the day she won the crown at Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba. [Gurtong|File]

By Francis Apiliga Lagu

JUBA, 11 February 2013 [Gurtong]- The elders, mostly women from across the country live adjacent live in the open and some on the veranda of an old rickety ramshackle house near the Mosque in Juba.

The elders have no stable source of food and depend on handouts from sympathisers and also collect food remains from hotels.

The February 14 is a day for lovers and family members to share some fond moments together and is characterized by exchange of rose flowers, romantic outing, swimming and taking tours around clad in red and black.

Nevertheless, Awien, 20, on her part wants to share her love with these elders to show them they too deserve love, care and are part and parcel of the society.

“There is a street around Equity Bank, there are elders there. That is where they live, that’s where they cook and eat. That’s where I will be on Valentines’ day,” said Awien.

Miss Awien from Warrap State challenges couples and lovers to also think of the needy people in the society on Valentines’ Day.

“Most people think this day is for lovers and couples but it is love for everyone, not just couples. So I thought why don’t I go and share my love with the elders, bringing them food and clothes. That’s what I think of doing on February 14th,” she said.

Without a budget for a national programme, Ms Awien says the programme for the elders will be supported by Vivacell Telecom, South Sudan Breweries Limited (SSBL) and Speed Insurance Company.

In the evening, it’s a sombre mood one gets seeing these elders preparing their beddings to rest in the night. These people are safe only during the dry season as they often get disturbed, displaced and sleep on verandas of shops whenever it rains.

The appalling living conditions of such a group of helpless elders should have drawn concern from humanitarian organisations but this is yet to happen.

Nevertheless, with Miss Malaika coming up to highlight the plight of the elders, some organizations are expected to come to the rescue.

The South Sudan Miss Malaika is one of the well known marked socio-cultural events that started in 2006 with a mission to encourage culture and heritage, tourism, and community work.

The pageant started following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, (CPA) in 2005 that ended more than two decades of war with Sudan which destroyed infrastructure in the country.

The beauty contest is conducted annually to help South Sudanese girls to discover their beauty and talents. The contestants also have a chance to travel abroad to contest for big beauty pageantry competitions such as Miss Earth and Miss World.

Since its inception, the event has received wider support both from the government, business community and individuals who offer a wide range of awards.

South Sudan 2009 Miss Malaika Ms. Atong Demach took South Sudan, a new nation to a light of international scene when she emerged the Miss World Africa in the Miss World beauty pageant held in China last year.  

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