Princess Opan is South Sudanese and 15 years of age. Opan's hopes of completing school nearly ended when her home country was plunged into war in 2015.
"Initially, I dreamt of becoming an important person after completing school. All of this changed in 2017 when the violence in South Sudan escalated and my family was forced to flee and go to Uganda. My family were scattered during the chaos and I have not seen even one of them since we separated. I entered Uganda as an unaccompanied minor clueless of where to begin sketching my life from. I felt totally disheartened on my way to a place unknown to me."
"I secured a place to stay having followed several other groups of South Sudanese fleeing the violence at that time, and we were directed to a refugee camp; Imvepi settlement camp. Life there hardened, even though there was no violence. After several days of complete misery, I managed to register as a refugee and I started searching for opportunities to survive in the camp.
My greatest fear of not being able to go to school again, rose within me. I knew it would necessitate a huge miracle to realise my dream of becoming a nurse like my step-mother whom I admired and resolved to emulate as I grew up."
"Before the violence erupted, my parents could provide a home, clothing, food & educational support for myself and my siblings. But now the country has been torn apart and I are currently living in Uganda whereby my parents no longer provide for me."
“I wanted to be a nurse, but I could not even afford scholastic materials now so that I go to school……” explained Opan, with tears running down her cheeks.
Thankfully, Opan found hope when Nurture Africa started registering refugee children to benefit from the child protection and scholastic support program in Imvepi camp. She now attends a Nurture Africa supported school.
"I now have the space to study without being afraid, and because of this I will continue working towards my dream of becoming a nurse. I am so happy and I know I will one day wear a pink dress and white cap in my hair when I finish school."
Opan finished softly.... "I also thank the good people of Nurture Africa so much.” with a humble smile on her face, and hope in her eyes.
Nurture Africa wishes to thank the Elsa and Nando Perretti Foundation for supporting its work in two refugee settlements for South Sudanese in Northern Uganda. Through this support, Nurture Africa is providing Educational and Child Rights support to 10,000 children.
No child should have to experience the childhood that Opan has experienced. Let Opan's strength of character, dignity and resilience be an example to us all.