Pakistani peacekeepers train community members on construction in Bentiu
Years of civil war has decimated infrastructure and housing across much of South Sudan.
UNMISS peacekeepers from Pakistan deployed to Bentiu, Unity state, therefore, conducted a three-week course in construction and masonry, in a bid to equip 10 young people from displaced community with necessary skills to earn a living and teach other community members a sustainable trade.
Participants learned to work with different construction materials, including brick, concrete and wood, through hands-on, practical training from peacekeepers.
“We are from a young nation and have suffered through conflict for most of our lives,” said Chatiem Nyang Gat, a participant.
“It has been impossible for many of us, displaced people, to even continue our education. This training makes up hugely for that lack of formal education. I am going to practice these skills regularly and hope to put food on the table for my children,” he continued.
Liep Kueth Nyakoong, another participant, echoes Chatiem’s words.
“The sort of in-depth skill-building that Pakistani peacekeepers have conducted with us is something we have never experienced before,” stated Liep.
“We now not only have the ability to start a trade, but through apprenticeships, we can empower other young displaced people to become financially independent. We are very appreciative.”
For his part, Major Abid Hasan, the supervisory officer of the workshop, believes that empowering local communities whenever possible is part of the mission’s mandate. “As Blue Helmets, our primary task is to protect civilians across South Sudan. Protection has many facets and one main aspect is empowering people who have suffered from conflict to be able to sustain themselves,” averred Major Hasan.
“This workshop was our attempt to help the local communities we serve become proficient in a trade that will enable them to slowly rebuild the infrastructure that Bentiu requires. More importantly, they will be able to trickle down their learning to other members of the community, thereby multiplying the eventual benefits.