Being an orphan in Torit: The quest to keep one’s head above water
Peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan spent part of their spare Christmas time at two orphanages in Torit, bringing a bit of joy and gifts to the children staying there.
“We were brought here because we were told no one wanted to support us. Every day, we see how the pastor tries his best to provide us with food, clothing and an education,” stuttered 14-year-old Felix Ochan, one of the children at the Faith Ministry International Orphanage Centre.
On the verge of starvation, most of the children are pushed by circumstances to beg for alms in market places before they can buy food to eat.
With formal education out of reach for most of these children, the importance of them getting access to teaching and learning resources cannot be overemphasized.
“We have no classrooms during lessons. It would be nice to have a classroom where I can study as long as I want,” said 14-year old Jalal Hassan, who stays at the Malakia Mosque.
Wanka Nelson, the pastor referred to by Felix, and Hassen Khalid Khamis, an Imam at the Malakia Mosque, both bemoan the difficulties they face in using ever-dwindling resources to cater for the children’s wellbeing.
While unable to address all of their pressing concerns, UN peacekeepers based in Torit did their best to brighten the Christmas experience of the children at the two orphanages. They brought an assortment of snacks, sweets and t-shirts to more than 60 boys and girls.
Caroline Waudo, a representative of the local UN team, assured that the peacekeepers in Torit are committed to engaging relevant authorities and sympathizers to support better care for the orphans.
“Children, never forget that we stand in solidarity with you. Always remember that there are people who care about you and are always thinking about your welfare.”
The UN Mission has been supporting and will continue to assist various orphanages in the area by means of both material donations and volunteering activities.