South Sudan: the hope in a meal

Sister Esther, working with our partner, the Diocese of Rumbek, writes from South Sudan on what it takes to bring joy to the faces of children affected by conflict and hunger.

Sister Esther Wambugha
Sister Esther Wambugha
Volunteer, South Sudan

Back to all stories | Posted on 26 Jun 2017 in Blog

Across South Sudan, a brutal war is raging. Families are being forced to flee their homes, schools are being destroyed, and famine has been declared in parts of the country. We continue to see enrolment in our schools dramatically increase as internally displaced people arrive in the areas where we feed. Mary’s Meals works with our partner organisation, the Diocese of Rumbek, to serve daily school meals with the support of vital volunteers like Sister Esther Wambugha who writes here from South Sudan.

This is my second year in Comboni Primary school Rumbek, South Sudan – a school that has grown so rapidly this year. In 2016 we only had 1,592 children, however this year we have gone up to 2,539 children and still many are knocking our doors for registration. This is attributed to the huge influx of internally displaced people and because we are currently the only school in the centre of Rumbek with Mary’s Meals’ school feeding programme.

Due to the current economic crisis, the school feeding programme is playing a vital role in the socio-economic status of many parents. The school feeding programme has boosted the morale of many parents as well as the teachers and the cooks; they are sure that their children can at least get a plate of Mary’s Meals when they come to school.

Open quote mark The school gives hope to the children and the teachers, knowing that someone somewhere cares for their lives. Close quote mark
Sister Esther

I have seen many children coming from distant locations, looking physically tired and weak. It’s easy to tell that they slept without food. Our cooks give them porridge on their arrival which allows them the strength they need to attend classes like the other children.

The food provided is highly nutritious and it boosts the immunity of those acutely malnourished children; it energises and motivates them to come regularly to school.

The school gives hope to the children and the teachers, knowing that someone somewhere cares for their lives and progress in education, amid the current dire crisis and starvation in South Sudan.

It is very difficult to hide the joy in the faces of these children, especially when they walk into the school kitchen – probably the only place where the hope of getting food is. This is highly appreciated and the support of Mary’s Meals’ school feeding programme to the children will not go in vain. We pray for the continuous generous support to keep these thousands of children alive and in school.

Millions are at risk. Help us reach desperately hungry children today.