Refugee Youth Find a Fresh Start in Maban

Monday 5 March 2018

Maban, South Sudan - Adolescent girls, boys and teenage mothers make clothes at Maban refugee settlement in Northern Upper Nile to earn living.

Achan* 16, demonstrates how to make clothes using her new sewing machine given by Save the Children.

At least 28 teenage mothers and adolescent girls and boys graduated in February 21, 2018 in tailoring bringing to 93 the total number of girls and boys trained in vocational skills by Save the Children in 2 years in South Sudan’s Maban refugee settlement.

In a focus group discussion conducted by SCI with youth in 2017, majority of girls and boys reported high level of parental neglect in the camps, attributed to cultural practices where children are expected to work due to the limited socio economic opportunities for families. As a result, young children are working in the market instead of going to school. Early marriage is rampant in the camp.  

The tailoring/garment making project started in 2016 and has been co-funded by UNHCR and Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM).  It targets vulnerable adolescents in the community identified through case management process by SCI, UNHCR, Danish Refugee Council and other partners including community leaders.

 The four months training package integrates child and youth protection into sustainable life skills. Upon graduation, SCI gives start-up kits such as sewing machine, roll of fabric, pair of scissors, measuring tape, and lubricating oil to the graduates to start their own business.

 One of the beneficiaries, 18-year-old Rahim* (not her real name) mother of one was neglected by her family when she was young. In 2011, Rahim* and her mother fled the fighting in Blue Nile in Sudan. Upon arrival in Maban, Northern Upper Nile State in South Sudan, they were resettled at Doro refugee camp.

Rahim* 18, mother of one

Life became difficult for Rahim* and her mother because they only depend on the Refugee food ratio.

At the age of 17, Rahim* decided to get married thinking her husband could make life better for her. She now regrets because her husband has nothing to help her and her living condition continues to worsen.

Through assistance from save the Children, Rahim* now finds hope to earn a living. She received clothes, soap and food items from Save the Children in 2016 and now has been given a sewing machine after intensive four months training to do business. 

“I thank Save the Children. They trained me on how to sew clothes and gave me the machines with starter materials so that I can get my own money”, Said Rahim*.

“I want to use the opportunity that Save the Children has given me to complete my education and become a teacher, she added”

The Maban refugee camp consists of four camps, namely Doro with over 60,732, Batil with 47,498, Kaya with 29,249 and Gendrassa with 20,235 registered refugees[1]. The situation of children and youth in Maban is affected by risk of violence, abuse, exploitation and other grave rights violations.

The most significant protection threats to refugee children in Maban continue to be separation from family, recruitment into armed groups, sexual exploitation and early marriage, physical harm and psychosocial distress

Enrolment and training for the next group of 30 adolescent trainees has commenced this February 2018 in the Camp. Save the Children continues to fight for the rights of Every Last Child in South Sudan. Thanks UNHCR and USAID for the support 


Written by | Tito Justin | March, 2018

[1]UNHCR Camp population statistics - Planning figures 2018