South Sudan (MNN) — They dared to hope. On July 09, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan
declared itself independent from Sudan (north) under the terms of a 2005 peace
agreement that ended decades of civil war.
The new nation was feted and gifted with recognitions as a United
Nations state, a member of the African Union, and as a member state of the
Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
Six months later, the
fledgling nation is fighting desperately to stay away from civil war, once
again. Matt Parker with Kids Alive International
describes what they're seeing in South Sudan. "Over the past few months,
there's been growth in a lot of the tensions and violence, particularly in some
of the Border States both in Sudan and in South Sudan. That's resulted in a
large number of refugees."
Recent reports concur. Parker
explains, "There's a lot of ethnic violence between the tribes. This has
resulted in a large number of deaths, displacement of people, abductions. That just
creates a downward spiral." Violence by tribal militias in Jonglei state
forced 50,000 to flee. 57 people, most
of them women and children, died five days ago in the onslaught.
The risk, according analysts, is that South Sudan could become a
failed state as the government struggles to end tribal and rebel violence,
widespread corruption and build up state institutions. In other words, it's
chaos. "A lot of disagreement over land issues, over access to water. Some
of the tribes in South Sudan have a real sense that they have been marginalized
by the government; added to that we've got a major food crisis."
As a result, thousands of southerners living in north
Sudan have been migrating to the south. As more refugees return
to South Sudan, the problem of homeless children in the town of Wau
is escalating. Parker says, "There's a huge issue with street kids in pretty
much in every city. They get involved in gangs, glue sniffing, substance abuse,
violence. This is creating huge problems in South Sudan's towns."
Kids Alive focuses on the entire child. "We've developed a children's home for
some of these kids, to get them off the streets and to help them grow up in a
caring environment. We're seeing some
great success with the kids that we currently have."
The team focuses on meeting the physical, emotional, AND spiritual
needs of each child through Christ-centered care, education, and ministry. However, the need is fast-paced. Kids
Alive just bought more land to meet that growth. "We're looking to build a
couple of Children's homes with 40 to 50 children provided with facilities
where they're loved and where they have the opportunity to hear about the good
news of Jesus."
Parker notes, they're trying to develop something to help families that are
trying to stay together. "We're also looking to develop education
programs in the community. We're looking to develop an education program where
we're supporting families."
Kids Alive International currently runs a Children's
Home for almost 20 vulnerable children in Wau. With such a great need
in this area, there are plans to grow this critical ministry as soon as we are
able. "Pray for the kids in our program, for our staff who do a great
job under difficult circumstances, pray
that we would be able to grow and reach out and help more kids in the communities
where we work."
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