“Involving children in decision-making shows love and respect for their rights”

Meet Kukuac, a bubbly 8-year-old passionate about peace, love and respect

UNICEF
Kukuac, 8 years, poses for a photo outside his home in Juba, South Sudan.
UNICEF South Sudan/2018/Campeanu

29 November 2018

Eight-year-old Kukuac Kimo is bubbly and has a great personality, but most importantly he is passionate about peace, love and respect for one another. Kukuac is one of many children in South Sudan who have been on the move for years. In 2011, following the independence of South Sudan from Sudan, he and his family were among hundreds of thousands that flocked back into the country. But their stay was short-lived following renewed conflict in 2013. Since then he has been displaced within the country and has also sort refuge in neighboring Egypt and Uganda.

Tasked with decision making for a day in his family, Kukuac displayed leadership skills that saw the house errands running smoothly from cleaning to cooking and to ensuring that all his siblings went to school and did their homework on time.

“I believe children should be involved in decision making as it makes them responsible,” says Kukuac, who suggested his mother should consider handing over decision making power on a rotational basis with his siblings.

“Involving children in decision making shows love and respect for their rights,” he added.

Asked what is the biggest problem in his country, he emphatically said “war”. The effects of the war on this young boy were evident by the sadness that swiftly engulfed his face. After a short silence, he said: “If I could change something about South Sudan, it would be to ensure peace in the country by asking people to love and respect one another.” 

Kukuac and his mother at a table
UNICEF South Sudan/2018/Campeanu
Kukuac doing his homework with support from his mother, Tereza Kak in Juba, South Sudan.

“What about the world Kukuac? What would you change or do differently if you were in charge?” I asked.

“I would make sure that there is peace in the world. Too many countries are fighting and a lot of children are dying and others are missing school.”

“How would you change your life or that of your family?”

“I would make sure that we all stay together not in different countries. I miss my dad and my cousins who are in Egypt, Malaysia and the United States of America.”

Kukuac hopes to become a doctor one day so that he can treat children in South Sudan. Like Kukuac, the future for a lot of children in South Sudan remains uncertain. But it is hoped that with the recent signing of a peace agreement between warring parties, children in South Sudan will have their rights realized so that they can not only dream of a better future but look forward to it with confidence.