Agnes remembers a better life. She had a home, a school, and her family was together. They were happy.
In hours, her life changed. Her village in Wonderuba, South Sudan was attacked. She saw people being killed. Her family fled into the bush along with hundreds of others. They found refuge outside a village called Bereka. Now she is an internally displaced person (IDP).
Agnes is ten years old.
South Sudan has been in political turmoil since December 2013. A peace deal has been brokered, but stability has yet to return. Driving through the streets of Juba, the capital city, one is struck by the number of UN peacekeepers.
Agnes and her family now live in a small IDP settlement in the bush near the village of Bereka. Members of her former village found each other and were allowed to build the settlement. A small brown pool several minutes away serves as their water source. The adults constantly warn the children to beware of the poisonous snakes that live in the area.
They are farmers, but they cannot grow food for themselves because all of their tools and seeds were left behind. There are rumours that their belongings have been looted. No one dares to return to their village as civilians have been shot.
Agnes is not happy. She has nightmares that the fighters will come to shoot her. She does not want to return home until it is safe. She misses her friends and her school. Three of Agnes’ siblings are attending school in the town of Lainya, but it is too far for them to walk each day. They stay in the village and return home on the weekends.
ADRA Canada did not have enough funds to assist the IDPs in South Sudan. However, we are a member of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of 15 church and church-based agencies representing 30 Christian denominations that are working together to end hunger. Two other members, The United Church of Canada and Presbyterian World Service & Development, decided to provide the initial funding. The United Church gave $200,000 and the Presbyterians provided $10,000. The Foodgrains Bank then provided $250,000 and entrusted ADRA to implement the project.
Rations were distributed to Agnes’ settlement. 50 kg of sorghum, 5 kg of beans, 3 L of oil, and 1 kg of salt were given to each family. It was meant to provide three meals a day for each person for a month. To stretch the rations, the community has been eating only two meals a day as they do not know when they will receive more food.
Agnes likes the food that ADRA and the Foodgrains Bank have provided. She helps her mother to prepare and serve the meals. She dreams of owning a restaurant when she is older.
Your generous and continuing support is saving lives and giving children like Agnes hope for the future.