Indian soldiers unite communities in Melut through sport
Sport as a universal language can be a powerful tool to promote peace, tolerance and understanding by bringing people across boundaries, cultures and religions together.
In Melut in the Upper Nile region, peacekeepers from the UN Mission in South Sudan’s Indian Battalion engaged with the community throughout the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence campaign using sport and other activities.
Youth teams from Melut town played fervently against a combined team of peacekeepers from the Indian battalion, military liaison officers and humanitarian partners.
Several teams from the local community played both football and volleyball at different levels against the UN team and amongst themselves – showing true solidarity and peaceful coexistence.
On World AIDS day, humanitarian partner CORDAID worked with the Indian battalion to carry out voluntary HIV testing on the ground. The battalion used the opportunity to educate those present on causes, symptoms, effects and preventive measures against HIV/AIDS.
Following the activities, the peacekeepers were invited to attend a graduation ceremony at the New Sudan Primary School with County Commissioner, Mr Thomas Jock Deng and other local authorities present.
Peacekeepers took the opportunity to educate the students, as the future of South Sudan, on the importance of education, equality and respect for women, gender-based violence and other social issues.
Peacekeepers in the UN Mission in South Sudan regularly use sport as a “door opener” to rebuild trust amongst communities where they are engaged in the protection of civilians and building durable peace.