A little boy's letter to the president: ‘I want a country where there is peace and harmony’
Solomon Atem Akech nearly lost the opportunity to deliver an important item – a neatly folded letter, addressed to the president of South Sudan – because no one had invited him to read it out.
But he was determined, so he walked up to me and said he had a message for President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
“I want to stay in a country where there is peace and harmony,” said Solomon, as he pulled out the letter to President Kiir from his pocket.
This was after an hour-long peace march, organized by the Civil Affairs Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in collaboration with the Jonglei Ministry of Education, that had taken Solomon and other students through the commercial district of Bor town.
No Peace, No Development; One People, One South Sudan; Let’s Give Peace A Chance; Peace for South Sudan, read the banners that the students from St. Andrew’s Bor, Bor Mixed, and Khang Integrated primary schools waved in town, drawing great attention.
Once he had got his opportunity, Solomon stepped forward, looking a bit tense.
Reassured by a group of friends that surrounded him, though, he found his voice, and started reading out the letter.
“My dear President of the Republic of South Sudan,” he began, “I want my country South Sudan to be free from war, hunger, diseases and tribalism. I want to stay in a country where there is peace and harmony,” he said.
The 12-year-old Primary Seven pupil from Bor Mixed Primary School said he hoped his message would get to the President so that he can continue his education without a break.
Asked what had made him write the letter, Solomon said:
Speaking to the students after the march, Samuel Sarpong, an UNMISS civil affairs officer, noted that children form a critical core of the nation’s fabric and must always be protected.
“You are an important part of this nation and you need to have peace to be able to achieve your educational laurels,” said Mr. Sarpong, following Solomon’s appeal.
“Today you have sent the message of peace to this community and hope that by this we can entrench peace so that your dreams of becoming future leaders of this country will be fulfilled,” concluded the UN official.
Ajier Mayen Malok and Malitch Maker, aged 16 and 17 respectively, also urged people to unite and work for peace.
“I want to see our elders unite and work for peace. We do not want war again,” Ajier noted.
Malitch, who said he had lost an uncle during the war, said he was praying that “there will be no fighting again, so we can live in peace.”
“We appreciate the effort of UNMISS in helping us send these messages to the community. It is a good way to make peace,” he added.