Save the Children and partners in South Sudan have reunited 7,000 children with their families after being separated by conflict.
Save the Children staff members recently managed to reunite Simon, 13 years old, with his elder brother, Samuel, after three months of separation from family members. This brought a total number of child reunifications the organization has facilitated in South Sudan since 2017 to 7,000.
Simon and his family were living in Khartoum, Sudan, where conflict broke out earlier this year. Simon was staying with his uncle when his neighborhood was attacked, and when he returned home, he found armed groups had taken over the area and neighbours had fled.
He ran away alone and was identified at the South Sudan border by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which referred him to Save the Children.
Meanwhile, Simon’s brother Samuel also made his own journey from Khartoum to safety in South Sudan.
Simon said, “Save the Children gave me hope, hospitality, and honoured me. I thanked them (Save the Children) from the bottom of my heart”.
According to the CPIMS+ database, nearly 20,000 unaccompanied, separated, or missing children have been registered across South Sudan in the past nine years due to conflict within the country and from neighbouring Sudan.
Separated and unaccompanied children are more susceptible to violence, abuse, and exploitation, which makes returning them to their parents an urgent priority.
Jib Pornpun Rabiltossaporn, Save the Children Country Director in South Sudan, said: “Every time I hear a story like this, my heart lifts. Every day we hear more stories of how conflict tears away at children’s lives—and tears them from their families. I could not be prouder of the work of our team in South Sudan, which has now reunited 7,000 children with their families after years of dedicated work.”
In Renk, the border with Sudan, Save the Children works to increase the protection of children and their families who are affected by the Sudan crisis through the provision of child protection services, reunification, referrals, and community-based gender-sensitive preventive and responsive interventions.