As a mother of three, my priority every day is to make sure my children are happy, provided with their needs, and kept away from harm. This same energy and effort, I try to do for the children South Sudan’s Yambio County.
I have worked for nine years as a social worker supporting women in enhancing the well-being of their children. I campaign for awareness, conduct trainings, and facilitate focused-group discussions on how we can improve our child protection work, as we teach them their rights and duties.
I was born and raised in a conflict environment. Sadly, our children continue to face the same challenges as we did. I always promised to give my children the best education that I was not able to get while growing up.
My 16-year-old child will soon join secondary school. As a mother, it makes me feel proud looking back from where I came from.
When I first got my job in World Vision as Assistant Protection Officer, it was about the money I can earn. But all that changed when I started interacting with the children in the communities. I do my job with passion because of the children.
As we celebrate Women’s Day, we uphold the efforts, hard work and contribution of women in ensuring the well-being of children. Due to inter-communal conflict, the vulnerability and suffering of children in Western Equatoria State are distressing.
Many children lost their parents and siblings, some witnessed killings, and more experienced psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. Handling such cases require patience, love, and above all faith.
I keep in mind that these children could have been my children. A mother’s role is to help them recover from their horrible experience.
Currently working with former child soldiers who have gone through a lot of violence, some can be very aggressive and difficult to handle. It can discourage anyone, even me.
But I also keep in mind that these children could have been my children. A mother’s role is to help them recover from their horrible experience.
Listening to a 14-year-old year narrate the ordeals he faced, being forced to kill, how girls were abused sexually, how some of them witnessed their parents being killed, breaks my heart. No child should go through all of these horror.
As a social worker, I must give them hope through psychosocial support, counselling, and make them understand that they can rise, and are not the only ones facing this kind of challenge in life.
The most fulfilling moment for me is when I see the children recover. Currently, one of the child soldiers who attempted to commit suicide due to pressure and name-calling in the community is getting better at the child transit center. It gives me joy as I see him smile whenever I come for a visit.
No child should experience what these children in South Sudan are going through. It is painful for me as a mother to see a child who thinks there is no future and no hope.
Helping children get back on their feet and a better state of mind is all I want to do. My purpose in this world is to help children and women. Every child deserves to live a life in all its fullness.
Story by Anibie Joyce, Social Worker I Photos by Scovia Faida Charles Duku, Communications Coordinator