Bentiu youth fight for a brighter future for generations to come in South Sudan

by muslimmedia
Enough is enough

JUBA, South Sudan, December 24, 2019/ — “Enough is enough.” That is the powerful message from 30-year-old Nabol Joey who is passionate about ending child marriage so that her daughters don’t go through the experience handed down through generations of women across South Sudan.

“A few days ago, my friend’s daughter was taken from her family to be joined with an old man, almost the same age as her father,” says Nabol.

“Whenever I remember that poor girl screaming and asking to plead to the chamber of elders to let her go to school rather than being forcedly married, I see also my three daughters bearing such a bloody struggle.”

“The same struggle from great grandmothers to our own children,” she whispers emotionally as she bows her head. “There’s nothing more I can say, just to tell them, enough is enough.”

Nabol, who is pregnant with her sixth child, is currently living in the Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu, operated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. She came together at a special peace conference with 165 other young people as well as local government officials and members of political parties to discuss issues affecting their wellbeing and ideas for building peace.

They discussed issues such as early and forced marriage, intercommunal fighting, lack of education and how to increase employment opportunities for young South Sudanese at the conference hosted by UNMISS and the United Nations Development Programme.

Speaking at the event, peace activist Chigoa Jama expressed her desire to improve opportunities for women. She urged community members to be more aware about the impact of sexual harassment and violence against women and girls.

“There are groups of gangs in our communities. They talk to girls very badly, they touch them very inappropriately, because they think that they are superior,” she says. “As a team of activists, we will go and talk to them about their abuse of our sisters.”

Tuach Riak Lam is from Budang in Northern Liech. After three years living in a displacement camp in Wau during the civil war, he has returned home to lead the youth union.

“After the conference, I will report to the commissioner and seek his approval for my campaign which will focus on reconciliation and forgiveness so we can prevent intercommunal conflict,” he says. “If we convince young men to understand that getting an education and developing social skills is better for their future than wandering around on cattle raids, then our mission will be accomplished.”

“Enough is enough.”

That is the powerful message from 30-year-old Nabol Joey who is passionate about ending child marriage so that her daughters don’t go through the experience handed down through generations of women across South Sudan.

“A few days ago, my friend’s daughter was taken from her family to be joined with an old man, almost the same age as her father,” says Nabol.

“Whenever I remember that poor girl screaming and asking to plead to the chamber of elders to let her go to school rather than being forcedly married, I see also my three daughters bearing such a bloody struggle.”

“The same struggle from great grandmothers to our own children,” she whispers emotionally as she bows her head. “There’s nothing more I can say, just to tell them, enough is enough.”

Nabol, who is pregnant with her sixth child, is currently living in the Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu, operated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. She came together at a special peace conference with 165 other young people as well as local government officials and members of political parties to discuss issues affecting their wellbeing and ideas for building peace.

They discussed issues such as early and forced marriage, intercommunal fighting, lack of education and how to increase employment opportunities for young South Sudanese at the conference hosted by UNMISS and the United Nations Development Programme.

Speaking at the event, peace activist Chigoa Jama expressed her desire to improve opportunities for women. She urged community members to be more aware about the impact of sexual harassment and violence against women and girls.

“There are groups of gangs in our communities. They talk to girls very badly, they touch them very inappropriately, because they think that they are superior,” she says. “As a team of activists, we will go and talk to them about their abuse of our sisters.”

Tuach Riak Lam is from Budang in Northern Liech. After three years living in a displacement camp in Wau during the civil war, he has returned home to lead the youth union.

“After the conference, I will report to the commissioner and seek his approval for my campaign which will focus on reconciliation and forgiveness so we can prevent intercommunal conflict,” he says. “If we convince young men to understand that getting an education and developing social skills is better for their future than wandering around on cattle raids, then our mission will be accomplished.”

Government and political officials at the conference supported the initiatives expressed by the young participants.

Laraka Machar, the Deputy Governor of Northern Liech, said youth could help drive South Sudan towards a much brighter future.

“It is your right to tell us if there are bad policies that are threatening your wellbeing. We will consider your recommendations and make changes,” he said.

While George Gaktual, a peace advisor for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition concluded: “Youth were involved in the conflict and the matter of fact is that you also need to be part of the solution.”.

Laraka Machar, the Deputy Governor of Northern Liech, said youth could help drive South Sudan towards a much brighter future.

“It is your right to tell us if there are bad policies that are threatening your wellbeing. We will consider your recommendations and make changes,” he said.

While George Gaktual, a peace advisor for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition concluded: “Youth were involved in the conflict and the matter of fact is that you also need to be part of the solution.”

30-year-old Nabol Joey

30-year-old Nabol Joey

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