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South Sudan’s war victims find refuge, hope

By October 1, 2015
(Photo courtesy Kids Alive International)

(Photo courtesy Kids Alive International)

South Sudan (MNN) – Since civil war broke out in South Sudan in December of 2013, millions of people have been displaced and put at risk of starvation. At least seven ceasefires have been broken, and the violence shows no signs of slowing down.

But in the midst of the suffering and turmoil, one organization is bringing hope.

For the last 10 years, Kids Alive International has been working in the town of Wau, rescuing children from the streets and guiding them toward a better future.

“So many children in this community have no opportunity to go to school, and of course education is key in helping kids break the cycle of poverty,” says Kids Alive President Matt Parker. “So we’re working with families, we’re working with kids, helping to get them back in school and have an education and have hope for the future.”

The difference Kid Alive has been making is evident, especially through the story of its first graduate from its children’s home, Michael. His life started out rough, but Kids Alive gave him the opportunity to pursue a better future.

“This was a little boy who was rescued seven or eight years ago, one of the first four boys to be taken into the home,” Parker says. “His name is Michael. Michael lived some of his early years out on the streets. He had nowhere to go, no family, no one to look after him. The only place he would find food would be in piles of garbage…. He really just had no hope for life.

“Our staff found him on the streets, brought him into our children’s home there, and he thrived in that settin. He settled very quickly. He threw himself into his school studies and made exceptional progress with his education; and very quickly he built trusting, caring relationships with the other kids in the home, with our staff. [He ] loved getting involved in church activities as well and made a commitment to the Lord and really grew in his faith.

“He just finished his secondary school exams, which is quite an achievement in itself in South Sudan…. [He] is planning to go on to Bible College for the next couple of years. His dream then is to come back and work with us as an organization. He wants to give back to other children who are suffering similarly to the way he did.”

(Photo courtesy of Kids Alive International)

(Photo courtesy of Kids Alive International)

Stories like these is what Kids Alive strives for. And they’re not slowing down. Kids Alive is expanding its work to give more war victims the chance to thrive.

“We’ve just built another building, which will allow us to rescue another 16 children off the streets in the coming months,” Parker says. “We’ve got our staff out in the community, identifying those kids who we want to rescue.”

Kids Alive is making an eternal difference in the Wau community, but it needs your help to keep going. Can you help this organization continue to meet physical and spiritual needs in South Sudan?

“Certainly, please keep South Sudan in your prayers. Pray for peace in this country. Pray for those who are suffering,” Parker says. “Millions of people in this country are suffering. And pray for the work of Kids Alive in South Sudan as we rescue kids off the streets.

“We’re always looking for partners to come alongside us and support us in our work. So people can find out more at our website, www.KidsAlive.org to learn more about this ministry and how you can get involved.”

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