The people you’ll meet in this story have survived the conflict in South Sudan. Now in refugee camps, they’re still in danger from disease and starvation. And there are thousands more like them.
After driving through shrubbery, we abandon the car and walk for almost an hour. We fight through the grass and branches as we head further away from civilisation. I am about a mile from the border with South Sudan. Surely no-one can be living here. But I am amazed to find a hut, providing barely any protection from the rain. And inside, a solitary woman, Susan.
Susan has leprosy and her hands are beginning to curl in on themselves. I ask her how she ended up here. “I was chased by the government and the rebels,” she says. “I am not able to walk, so I started crawling. I never made it to the camps.” Because Susan hasn’t made it to an official settlement to register as a refugee, she’s not eligible for UN food relief. BMS has been providing her with emergency food rations – support that has most likely saved her life. They’ve also helped train the pastoral activists who found Susan. “I don’t get many visitors here. The team share the word of God with me, and they pray with me. That is how I get my strength.” As I walk away, I know we’re leaving her lonely, but never alone.
Fourteen-year-old Nancy hops up to us at impressive speed, her foot scuffing along ground. Her right foot is twisted and she can’t walk on it. The uneven ground is hard to move across. It’s clear Nancy can’t move far from the temporary home she is living in. Because of her disability, Nancy couldn’t go to school. “Children would tease me because I’m not able to move,” Nancy says. BMS partner Hope Health Action transport wheelchairs to people like Nancy, and now Nancy can get to school. “I am very happy with my wheelchair. It can take me anywhere,” says Nancy. “I want to be a nurse.” It’s the most confidently she’s spoken.
BMS 2019 Harvest appeal is South Sudan’s Conflict Survivors. Together we can make sure these incredible conflict survivors are not forgotten.