“Family Open Day” focus on role of households in achieving peace and fight gender-based violence
On Thursday 28 November, a steaming Juba was joyously shaken by the reverberations of singing and dancing emanating from a community-wide event at Jubek Model School. The happening emphasized not only the role of families in creating unity, but also the importance of knowing the content of the revitalized peace agreement and fighting gender-based violence.
With more than 1,500 participants present, including students from 20 schools across the capital and throngs of beaming parents, the day-long “Family Open Day” affair, organized in tandem by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the ministry of education, transformed the school into a hotbed of fun, complete with relay races and cultural performances.
“I made some new friends here, and I hope we will stay in touch. I am grateful for days like this that show us the beauty of coexisting harmoniously,” said Garang Wol Kiir, a student from Royal Star secondary school.
This potent message, which coincides with the spirit of the world-wide 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence, was imbued into the different activities transpiring that afternoon, such as the “human rights hula hoop ring toss” and the “tag of peace.”
“I learned from the three-legged race that we can dispel hatred if we trust each other and work together,” said Assunta Anjilo, a student from the hosting school who clearly picked up on the benefits of teamwork.
Youth were not the only ones feeling inspired to take the reins of positive change. Parents joining in on the action also experienced the power of teamwork in bringing durable peace to the war-torn nation.
“These games teach us to combine efforts with our children to achieve the peace that we so long for,” said Vicky Waraka, as she proudly watched her daughter display her athletic talents.
After taking a breather from their rigorous endeavors, participants could also enjoy folk entertainment put on by students from the Chinese Friendship School and Nepalese peacekeepers serving with the UN mission, as well as listen to lectures on land mine awareness provided by the United Nations Mine Actions Services.
The festive occasion was also beheld by public leaders such as the National Pre-Transition Committee representative Simon Arkangelo. He urged attendees to stay optimistic in the face of the recent one-hundred-day extension of South Sudan’s pre-transitional period, and to learn as much as possible about the content of the revitalized peace agreement.
“You need to understand the details of the agreement so that you can own it and live by it. That way the atmosphere of peace experienced here today can continue,” he told the crowd.