South Sudan Refugee Project
Child Right's Workshop in Imvepi Camp, Arua District, Uganda
The crisis in South Sudan
In 2017, the United Nations officially declared a state of famine in two counties of South Sudan. Of the countries 12 million population, 7.6 million depend on humanitarian aid for their protection and survival. There is a lack of food and health services along with increased violence against civilians as a result of internal conflict.
The refugee crisis
Since the crisis broke out in Juba in December 2013:
More than 2 million people have fled to neighbouring countries
Uganda currently hosts 1 million of these people who have been granted refugee status in the country
Over the last 12 months, a staggering 657,000 people have crossed the boarder from South Sudan to Uganda.
2 million people are internally displaced from their homes and land in South Sudan.
South Sudan is now the third largest refugee crisis in the world after Syria and Afganistan.
The food crisis
Eight months after the proclaimation of famine:
6 million people are living in food insecurity
2.6 million people have fallen into food insecurity in the last 12 months
1.1 million children are malnourished
300,000 children are severely malnourished and in danger of death
Much of the fertile land in the West Nile region is not producing food as farmers have fled as a result of ongoing conflict and insecurity
The health emergency
After 4 years of conflict and humanitarian crisis:
South Sudan is experiencing its longest, most deadly and widespread cholera epedemic since its independance
Malaria cases have increased reaching 1.5 million people
Humanitarian agencies are facing increased challenges of providing support and serivces to civilians ans a result of the ongoing insecurity and conflict
Nurture Africa's intervention
In light of the current South Sudanese refugee influx into Uganda, Nurture Africa’s Humanitarian Response to this crisis which is funded by the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, intends to address:
The education and child protection needs of South Sudanese refugee women and children through two broad objectives:
To improve access to and provision of quality education for South Sudanese refugee children and youth
To contribute to early recovery and reduced impact of the refugee crisis among the refugees and host communities in Imvepi and Palabek Refugee Settlements.
The Imvepi refugee settlement in Arua district has 86,000 South Sudanese refugees.
The Palabek refugee settlement camp, in Lamwo district comprises 16,976 South Sudanese refugees. This camp was opened on 11th April 2017 and is expected to accommodate about 50,000 refugees.
Baseline data indicates that South Sudanese Imvepi refugee settlements have limited access to health infrastructure. For instance, the settlement has only one Health centre serving a large population of over 98,968 refugees. In Palabek refugee settlement, reproductive health services are a major gap especially among young people in relation to family planning services. The nearest Health Centre is located at the reception area, which is very far from the settlement. Vulnerable and sick refugees have difficulties walking up to the reception center for medical attention. Nurture Africa will focus on the areas of Education (including health education), Child Protection/ Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Psycho-social care to 10,000 people directly and an additional 10,000 people indirectly.
Child Friendly Space
Nurture Africa is delighted to open its Child Friendly Space in Zone C in Imvepi Settlement, Arua District. This zone hosts over 28,000 South Sudanese refugees. There are many functions of this new space which predominantly offers a safe haven for the all the children in this zone. The space offers the following facilities and services for the children it caters for:
A playground, netball and volleyball pitch in order to promote
child development through play.
An Early Learning Centre for children who are too young to
attend primary school. Guardians can leave their children to learn
in a safe environment whilst they carry out their daily tasks.
A Vocational Training Centre for children and youths. Out of
school youths who are too old to join the formal education system
have the opportunity to learn English and craft making.
Counselling Services are available for youths identified as
traumatised by their experiences of the war in South Sudan.
Each will receive one to one counselling and form peer support
groups where they can talk about their traumatic experiences.
Unfortunately, many have witnessed and experienced significant abuse,
(physical, sexual and emotion) rendering this aspect of support as vital
for the health and psychological well-being of these children.
In total, this Child Friendly Space employs 14 staff including 6 refugees. It demonstrates the cooperation of the local community with the refugee community.
Torrit Primary School
Nurture Africa has provided all pupils in Torrit Primary school with exercise books and maths sets. All students preparing to sit exams will be provided with school uniforms, which is a requirement of the Ugandan government. All teachers have received text books, learning aids and teacher training. Torrit has both South Sudanese refugees and Ugandans attending the same school. This is encouraged to ensure integration of the refugees into the host community. There is 7 Ugandan teachers and 8 refugee teachers in this school.
Nurture Africa wishes to thank the Office of the Prime Minister, the UNHCR and the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation for their support. Please also watch out for the link to Nurture Africa’s work in the refugee settlements on Uganda’s biggest TV channel NTV. Nurture Africa is featured on this channel for the impact it has had on the refugee community.
Credit: All images captured with full consent by Janis Iredale