UN peacekeepers organized fun-day for displaced children in Bentiu
Peacekeepers from Ghana have organized a “fun-day” for displaced children in a protection site in Bentiu in northern South Sudan. Various games and a dance competition was part of the programme, which was thoroughly enjoyed by almost a thousand children.
Ghanaian soldiers serving the UN Mission in South Sudan took this nimble and playful, yet robust initiative to engage with hundreds of boys and girls as a way to encourage healthy, social interaction between them. Strengthened relations between peacekeepers and part of the displaced persons they are there to protect were no doubt a priceless, added bonus.
The children participated in different activities, including musical chairs, running as fast as possible with an egg on a spoon and a dance competition.
Peter Koang Gatkek, a 14-year-old boy who sought shelter at the UN base in Bentiu in December 2013 and has stayed there since then, spoke for many when he expressed his gratitude.
“There is no way that I can express my happiness to those who are protecting me here, but I want to let them know that their work is commendable. We, the children of the protection site, are very happy today because we gather in one place, we are united and we get to meet new friends from different blocks and sectors of the site,” said Peter, who also believes that fun activities bringing people together will help end the conflict in the country and allow people to enjoy durable peace.
The Commanding Officer of the Ghanaian battalion in Bentiu, Lieutenant Colonel Andrews Oduah, proactively encouraged the children to take education seriously and stay away from trouble.
“We want you to respect your parents and make sure to go to one of the schools that have been set up for you, because you are the near future of this country and if you learn a lot you will become very good adults,” the Ghanaian officer said.
The Head of the UN mission’s field office in Bentiu, Hiroko Hirahara, echoed his sentiments and urged the young crowd to be beacons of hope and peace.