Five ways the EU humanitarian aid & UNICEF is changing the lives of South Sudanese refugee children
Realizing the right to education and protection for refugee children in East Darfur
Thousands of refugees crossed into Sudan from neighbouring South Sudan due to conflict.
Over half of them are children. They have since been resettled in El Ferdous located in East Darfur that is currently home to over 74,000 refugees.
The EU humanitarian aid and UNICEF are supporting the refugees that fled their homes leaving almost everything behind to build and start a new life in Sudan.
It’s a much-needed support to ensure every child has access to an education; access to safe spaces to play, learn and heal after traumatic experiences.
Here are five ways the EU humanitarian support through UNICEF is changing the lives of refugee children from South Sudan and communities that host them in El Ferdous, East Darfur.
Education, a right for all children including refugee children
Education is every child’s right and for refugee children it is more. It is hope! Through UNICEF humanitarian support, over 14,800 children – boys and girls - have had access to an education. Thanks to the generous EU humanitarian assistance, a total of 69 classrooms were constructed to support children’s learning in safe environments.
Additionally, 15 latrine stances for both girls and boys, complete with running water were constructed to enhance hygiene and sanitation practices in the school including hand washing with soap. Availability of clean and safe water coupled with adequate sanitation facilities are critical to boosting school enrolment, retention and completion especially for the girl child during menstruation.
Training teachers for a better education for refugee children
In El Ferdous, refugee children are not just learning, they are accessing quality education. This was made possible through enhancing the capacity and resilience of 379 teachers and parent-teacher association (PTA) members in target schools and Alternative Learning Programmes (ALP) centres, using a package of training programmes that covered subjects such as teaching methodology, life skills, and school management. The knowledge and life skills imparted will support children and young people to make informed decisions in the future as well as help them survive and thrive in school and after school.
Boosting school attendance
With safe schools in place, plenty of water, adequate sanitation facilities and trained teachers, more and more children are coming school to enjoy their right to learn. In the targeted five basic schools (El Ferdous, Al Salam, Al Geraif, Abu Oud, and Abu Talib), the enrolment and retention rates are increasing steadily from 1,857 during 2018/2019 to 2,720 during 2019/2020 and now 2,739 in 2020.
Protecting uprooted children
As children and their families flee their homes, trekking through unsafe roads and paths, they encounter numerous challenges and experiences. Many are gruesome and leave a lasting psychological impact on their lives. To support their healing UNICEF through its partners provides psychosocial support by trained social workers. Over 4,500 students benefitted from psychosocial support services, while an additional 330 children affected by violence, exploitation or abuse received age-appropriate support.
Safe spaces also known as child friendly spaces have been constructed and available for refugee children and those from host communities to enjoy. At the safe spaces, children can learn, play, make friends and access psychosocial services to support their healing.
Reuniting children with their families
While in transit, many children are separated from their loved ones and arrive by themselves. UNICEF was on the ground to identify them and provide support. About 720 unaccompanied and separated children were reunited with their families or placed in alternative family care.
In El Ferdous located in East Darfur, UNICEF is helping to protect the rights of all children including refugee children while ensuring they too realize their dreams and aspirations. Refugee children are children too and should enjoy their basic rights.