A better life denied

Children lack basic needs in Pibor, South Sudan

By Christine Saida Andrea, UNICEF Child Reporter
Christine sitting with 4 other young people
18 June 2021

I came from Juba to visit Pibor in Jonglei State, for the first time. I want to learn about the situation of children around South Sudan.

My first day, I visited the Pibor Nutrition Centre for Children (PNCC) where children are suffering from acute malnutrition and other complications like malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea. The stabilization centre is a small room where the children with the worst cases of malnutrition undergo treatment.

The children I met are very young, under the age of five, and are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. I talked to Dr. Simon to learn more about those young children. He was very concerned because the situation of those children is worrying and increasing rapidly each day.

Christine holding a young child
UNICEF Child Reporter, Christine Saida Andrea, on a field mission in Pibor.

These are children who depend on humanitarian assistance for survival because of poverty, communal conflicts and floods that have a huge impact towards their livelihood. The children are experiencing the bitter side of the world at a very young age, their rights are being denied, they are the victims of all the chaos happening in Pibor and across South Sudan.

As a child, I’m pleading for your support to make a better world for the millions of children and innocent souls across South Sudan, especially suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Every child has the right to good food and nutrition.

On the second day, I visited Langachor Primary School and it was not different from Pibor Boys or Pibor Girls primary schools. It is a big school with a large compound, but classes are in bad conditions. There were no teachers but only volunteers. The school has only five classes due to inadequate funding. The school has no clean drinking water for the learners nor enough school and teaching materials.

Christine poses for a selfie with young children

I was very excited to see both boys and girls in the school and in classes ready to acquire knowledge through education. They want to learn even though the classrooms are not good. I had a discussion with some of the learners at the school, they said, they want to be educated and have a better future but the environment they live in do not support that, because of floods, child abduction and intercommunal violence.

They all have great plans and amazing ideas for future careers to help their communities and South Sudan at large. They want to support peace and unity in Pibor and South Sudan, to enable them to achieve their goals in future. All of us children continue to hope for the best and make plans for a better life. I have faith that 10 years from now, things will be better. When we celebrate our 20th year of independence in 2031, things won’t be the same because we, the children today, are going to make sure that children in the future won’t experience what we are experiencing.

For every child, the right to education – education for all.