Please care for us children of South Sudan

Create a safe environment so we don’t face abuse and violence

Zikra Gibriel Alfred
Zikra Gabriel, UNICEF Child Reporter
17 November 2021

The right to be a child is the most neglected issue in South Sudan. We are denied our rights and when we speak and share our opinions, this is considered as a lack of respect or disobedience to our elders.

Many children in South Sudan lack parental care, health services, education, shelter, and many other basic services. Children in South Sudan are often victims of conflict and violence.

Children in our country face many challenges. Girls are vulnerable to sexual abuse. Boys risk recruitment and use by armed forces and armed groups from a very young age.

Every second girl in South Sudan is married before she reaches 18 years of age. Both boys and girls are used as sex workers. They get gifts or are paid very little money. The most vulnerable are children who cannot afford the school fees at school, and who are living in poor families. Because of poverty, many children end up on the streets, dropping out of schools to look for work and money to survive.

Children with disabilities are stigmatized and are discriminated against. Many children are traumatized by war. Many of them have mental health issues. Negative attitudes towards children with disabilities hinder their participation in their community - socially, politically and economically. There is a lack of participation of girls in decision making in the family and within communities. The views and opinions of girls are neglected and often rejected.

Every child has rights, whatever gender, ethnicity, religion, language or ability. Children need to be treated with care because they are the future of this country.

I urge the Government, and non-governmental organizations, community leaders, parents, and all stakeholders to join hands and support the rights of children in South Sudan.

We ask that you ensure that we the children of South Sudan can live as children and that we are able to enjoy our childhood!