Youth in Eastern Equatoria celebrate peace through sport
Hundreds of young people have been united by a shared love for sport and a desire for peace in the troubled Eastern Equatorian region of South Sudan, which is continuing to experience ongoing violence between armed groups.
The young football and volleyball enthusiasts came together in a special “Sports for Peace” tournament organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in coordination with the Ministries of Education in Imotong and Kapoeta.
Twelve primary and secondary schools in Torit and six primary schools in Kapoeta took part in the nine-day tournament. The winners of the football and volleyball competitions were awarded their prizes on the International Day of Peace, during celebrations involving local political and religious leaders, women and youth groups as well as members of the public.
A medical team from the UNMISS Rwandan peacekeeping contingent provided care for the children during the sports competition with dozens of injured players receiving first aid for minor injuries.
“After my leg was injured, my muscle was pulling, but thanks to the treatment from UNMISS doctors from Rwanda, I was able to go back and play again,” said Lillian Imoya Abraham.
The Kapoeta Governor, Louis Lobong Lojore, said the community appreciated UNMISS’ support in facilitating peace efforts in the region.
“I would like to salute all the peace makers all over the world, especially the United Nations, which has supported the states to use sport to celebrate Peace Day,” he said. “Without peace, life is dark and threatening.”
The UNMISS Head of Field Office in Torit, Mary Cummins, said the Mission was committed to involving young people in the peace process.
“What we have witnessed is sports being played with the spirit of unity and diversity,” she said. “UNMISS will continue to support these kinds of initiatives to promote the values of co-existence, starting with the youth and reaching out to all members of communities in Torit.”