Nepalese UN police supporting conflict-affected schoolchildren in South Sudan
Since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan, many children have been forced to go to school in UN protection of civilians sites or POCs in six locations across the country.
Bor POC, in conflict-ridden Jonglei, state hosts 741 primary school children. Many lack books or writing materials and have to sit on the floor when they attend lessons.
Now Nepalese police officers serving as part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), are struggling to make up for the lack of education materials.
The officers donated benches and other educational materials to support over 80 schoolchildren who have been taking their lessons sat on the floor.
The donation was welcomed by the schoolchildren and the Bor POC community who sang traditional songs in a ceremony attended by the UNMISS head of field office Deborah Schein, and the Commander of peacekeeping forces in the sector.
Schoolchildren can now continue their studies although conflict continues in the country.
The commanding officer of the Nepal Formed Police Unit (FPU) in Bor, Shambhu Upreti, said the children should not be deprived of their right to education. Mr Upreti said he looks at the children who attend classes as his own sons and daughters.
Mr Upreti has served in the Sudanese region of Darfur and as well as in South Sudan, where the UN is protecting thousands of people. He said the suffering of South Sudanese people has touched him.
He added that the people of Nepal typically help others and as such the peacekeepers will continue to protect and donate education materials to children in South Sudan.
“We see that these children face many problems so we decided to donate the materials and now more than 80 children can sit,” Mr Upreti said.
The chairperson of the Bor protection of civilian’s site in Jonglei state applauded the Blue Helmets especially the Nepalese FPU for supporting the conflict-affected community of the country in the POC.
David Duoth Machar said, the United Nations peacekeepers, in this case the Nepalese, have gone beyond their mandate of protecting civilians by providing humanitarian assistance so that the generation affected by war does not miss out on education.
Duoth continued that the schoolchildren at the Bor POC feel cared for and loved by the international community and will have brighter future. He commended the hospitality of the Nepalese people.
The UNMISS head of field office in Jonglei region; Ms. Deborah Schein applauded the Nepalese people for the “indispensable support.”
She commended the role Nepal FPU played in protecting civilians and their effort to get children back to class.
In the protection of civilians site, the Nepalese are engaged in growing some vegetables; their small demonstration farm is educating the local IDPs in the POC on how to grow vegetables in this virgin territory of South Sudan.
The contingents had earlier distributed mosquito nets and treated hundreds of malaria cases at the POC following the outbreak of malaria in September and October across many states of South Sudan.
The Nepalese FPU have been tasked to provide protection to the internally displaced people in Bor POC since the outbreak of war in 2013. According to commander Upreti, he is optimistic that the warring parties in the country with support of the United Nations will resolve the conflict and bring peace to the children.