By Peter Deng
OPINION – It’s sunny and windy in South Sudan and street children’s lives is punctuated by the hot temperatures and the noise of cars above their heads. Children are really suffering in South Sudan; they spend day and night on the street. They polish shoes and wash cars for their daily survival. They spend their nights sleeping in the commercial centers, in the shop verandas, bushes and on the other open spaces. Street children are misused by exploiters. They’re abused making them stress and traumatized.
There’re thousands of street children in Juba city and across South Sudan; many children who lost their parents during the civil war of 2013 are suffering in the street. They decided to be in the street because of the hardships; Furthermore, in Juba; some families can’t afford to put food on the table and to pay the school fees for their children. And Speaking to one of the street boys in Gudele, Wani James, he stated that “there is no food at home, mother can’t afford to medicate siblings and I, we’re willing to go to school but there are no school fees,” he stressed!
Additionally, street Children are just like other children across South Sudan who’re traumatized, neglected, physically and mentally abused and exploited. They can be helped and given a future away from the street If we can join hands together and build rehabilitation and vocational centers to teach them more skills for better transformation. The children I’m talking about can be transform and they’re teachable. They can be future leaders and technocrats of this nation. Many Street Children do exhibit behavioral problems, aggression and substance abuse issues, but these are their coping mechanisms of psychological pain because they’re always traumatized, abandoned, orphaned, chronically neglected, physically, sexually and mentally abused and they’re in most cases exploited by others to beg for commercial advantages.
Moreover, why should some people reject them and they rely on the public support? It is through begging, collecting bottles and carrying bags in the markets as well as stealing of foods and other belongings that they survive. One child spoke to me approvingly, “there’re those ones who’re kind, they give when they’re being asked or begged.” He said; So, I kindly appeal to philanthropists, well-wishers and general public to help them in whatever way possible.
I like the feeling of street children toward one another, they love themselves, sleep together and struggle for food together. Just look at that spirit, what if they’re help? In addition, they children who left their families are too young to take care of themselves. I meet two street boys at the roundabout of Juba University, they were helping a blind man to crossed the road, when I asked after they’ve successfully helped him crossed the busy road why they helped him? One of them responded; “we’re looking for a blessing from God so that we can be blessed and helped by God to change our current status.” He spoke.
Additionally, every street child would always want to go back to his/her family, but unfortunately; they can’t due to the situations back at home or because of vulnerability. they are being exploited and used by others as laborers in places like Konyokonyo, Custom, Jebel Market and many other residential areas in Juba.
However, the street children’s lives are difficult to understand and would be define narrowly if one has not done a research to fully understand their hardships. Street children always think that they’re groups who’ve no value in the society and know nothing about their rights and liberties. To delete this mentality on their minds; we need to help them and change their lives in the country.
Furthermore, street children are part and parcel of this nation, as shown by one child who help the blind man crossing the road, they’ve dreams and goals and we need to help them. it’s just due to the hardships of life in the country that force them to the streets. Their parents can’t afford to feed, medicate and pay school fees for them. The children who live on the streets can’t make it in life on their own without your hand and mine. Also, I’m imagining, if well-off families just take one kid each from the street to take care of him/her like their own child. Then, it’ll be a great achievement for the country.
It’ll help transform the lives of street children entirely in South Sudan. Additionally, I’m thinking that after I marry, I’d love to raise some street children with my off springs in order to keep them away from hardships and exploitation in the street. Moreover, one of the kids who used to live in the street before STREET CHILDREN MINISTRY helped him in Hai-Thoura residential area in Juba, told me, “It is food and drugs only, this is all you think about, not school or girls”. He spoke.
Finally, I’m writing from the bottom of my heart and out of humanity. If I had adequate resources; I’d have build free schools for the vulnerable street children to restore their hope and give them a bright future in South Sudan. So, let join our hands together to help the street children across South Sudan. We’re the solution to the challenges facing them. Kindly, let help them in whatever way we can in our country.
The author is the Admin & Finance Manager at Street Children Ministry and a graduate of Upper Nile University (Public Administration Practioner) and can be reach by his Email: Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
The views expressed in the ‘OPINIONS & ANALYSIS’ section of Sudans Post are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not this website. If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email us here.