8-year old Toto forced apart from his parents

8-year old Toto forced apart from his parents

Protection of Civilian sites in Juba is now home to thousands of unaccompanied children seeking safety and protection amidst the conflict that rages in South Sudan.

Children like, eight-year-old Toto, and his 5 siblings have been forced into a life of scarce rations and a cramped tent to call home.

Toto waved his parents goodbye as the small boat left the shore and started floating down the river. Sitting on a wooden bench with his brothers and sisters, he wondered if he’d ever return. 

Just a few nights before they were forced to flee, fighting had erupted in their village. While many ran away to safety, there were a number of people that fell to the bullets. 

Toto had never seen anything like it before, although he had heard of violence in nearby villages. 

Toto and his siblings are considered unaccompanied minors at the Protection of Civilian site, but Nanjema, their 28-year-old aunt has taken them in. 

PICTURED: Toto with his siblings, cousin, and Aunt Nanjema (pink dress).

When they arrived, the registrations had already closed. They had no choice but to join the thousands of unregistered internally displaced persons at the site, sharing a tent with registered relatives. But, were ineligible to receive food rations. 

“They are my husband’s brother’s children, so they are my responsibility as well,” Nanjema says. “We don’t have much space, but what is worse is that we definitely don’t have enough food for everyone,” she says.

With only three members of the household officially registered at the Protection of Civilians site, they receive 45kgs of sorghum each month; not nearly enough to feed the whole family. 

The family has contemplated going back numerous times, but on-going violence has made the move impossible.

As COVID-19 limits life-saving aid from reaching children in already dangerous places, children in crisis, like Toto, urgently need someone like you.

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