Mother of a wounded reunified child associated with armed forces says Save the Children is really saving lives

Friday 24 January 2020

The people who took and shot my son do not want me to have my son alive, and they wanted him dead. After Save the Children brought my child back home, I was very excited with Save the Children.

Makuei* & his mother at home after reunification/Tito Justin

December 2019 - Malualkon, South Sudan; Makuei*, 16, left home and found some boys who were planning to go to Sudan. He decided to join his colleagues to go to Khartoum so that he can work to earn money. He was separated for a long time from his family due to peer influence. In Sudan, Makuei was working in a local restaurant in a local town. He was caught by armed forces while he was on his way to take birth and was forcefully recruited and forced to work on day-to-day basis.  Makuei, at the age of 16 and some of his colleagues was taken to travel to another country. He and his colleagues became a bodyguard to one of the officers who later escaped to a neighbouring country and left him in the armed group. Besides, he was washing clothes for one of the people among other day-to-day duties. Makuei planned to escape on several occasions but there was no right opportunity to do this. He wondered what will happen to him if they learnt of his plan to escape. 

Each night, Makuei longed and wished to be with his family. He had seen other children who planned to escape and sustained wounds on their bodies.  Makuei was also injured during an attempt to escape. 

Save the Children traced Makuei’s family and reunified him with his parents. Save the Children also supported to link Makuei with a hospital where he received medical support and is providing psychosocial support to Makuei and his family to help him feel safe in the family and in the community. Makuei explains with a sad face that he is finally at home with his family members....

“I left home, I did not go because I do not like my family or anything. I voluntarily left because of the problems I saw in the family. I met with people on the way and they arrested me and forcefully took me to another location then we found ourselves in another country that was not my wish. Even though I managed to escape, I was captured by other people who took me to another country where, there are a lot of rivers and you can’t cross without having money and they told us if you want to leave you can go, after there we were taken to a mountainous area”

“When we returned we were just made as shields to protect others who were fighting. We were not given guns to defend ourselves and they don’t care if we could die. In the bush, we were told to go and fetch water, pulling of water from the well, sweeping and cooking and washing clothes among others. It was not like the good days we were at school”

“What am now seeking is to go back to school, I thank Save the Children for taking me to hospital where I was supported. Even though am not fully well I still need to go back to school. This is what I want to say and thank you”

Makuei’s mother, Chok, was so worried about how her family could manage to treat her son’s injuries.   But when she received the good news that Save the Children is treating her child’s wounds, she was very happy and said quote “God will always help me and he is always by my side” adding  when she gave birth to her son, she never knew anything like this will happen to him. I was not going to manage the treatment of her son’s fractured arm.

After Save the Children reunified Makuei with his parents, his parents were so excited. Makuei's wound on the arm is now healed as he plans to continue with his education. 

“Right now, the only organisation I know is Save the Children who worked hard and managed to trace the house during rainy season, they packed their car from a far distance to come and take me and treated my son’s fractured arm. I believe they are really saving lives of vulnerable children”, said Makuei’s mother Chok.

Save the Children is the leading Child Protection actor in South Sudan through awareness raising sessions on violence against children. As of December 2019, we and partners reunited more than 6,000 children with their families after years of separation due to conflict. This is a milestone for the Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) programme in South Sudan since the first reunification of 420 children in 2014. In 2019, 79,866 children and 32,648 adults reached.


By Tito Justin