South Sudan is Africa’s youngest country, gaining independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 agreement that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war.
Independence however did not end the conflict in South Sudan. The young state plunged into crisis in December 2013 amid a power struggle between the president and his deputy whom he had sacked. Fighting between government troops and rebel factions erupted into a conflict that killed thousands and prompted more than 3.4 million people to flee their homes. Sadly on the 5th anniversary of the countries independence, the fighting broke out again and forced over 1.5 million to seek refuge in neighboring Uganda and Kenya.
In March of 2017, famine was declared in part of South Sudan only exacerbating the problem. Today over 20 million families face starvation.
South Sudan is a land of expansive grassland, swamps and tropical rain forest straddling both banks of the White Nile. It is one of the most diverse countries in Africa with over 60 different major ethnic groups, the majority of whom follow traditional religions, with a minority of Christians.
In 2014, Alissa first traveled to South Sudan to document the ongoing situation with Humanity United and ENOUGH.org. When waves of political instability and food insecurity resumed, Alissa and Peter returned for UNICEF to report on life for the displaced population living in camps and those fleeing hunger.
HIGHLIGHTING UNDER-REPORTED HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
With Humanity United and UNICEF, and with distribution by the World Economic Forum, Alissa and Peter’s stories and images from South Sudan have reached audiences around the world. Alissa and Peter also returned to Northern Uganda with 60 Minutes Australia to highlight the situation of South Sudanese refugees. The episode will air March 19, 2017.
Exposing Hope is has created an Education Fund to support several of the South Sudanese orphans Alissa and Peter met in Uganda. Thus far, three girls are safely in an all-girls boarding school in Northern Uganda, two more will join next term, and we are working to identify new candidates via our local partners on the ground in Adjumani, Uganda.