GBC is connected to South Sudan through our friendship with Anoul Deng, a lawyer in South Sudan who leads the Walk On Foundation, an organization dedicated to educating young South Sudanese children.
South Sudan is the youngest country in the world, officially becoming an independent nation on July 9, 2011. After a long civil war within Sudan, the people of the south voted to secede.
The hope of peaceful independence quickly ended in 2013. President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, faced opposition leader Riek Machar, a Nuer, and others of attempting a coup d’etat. Some reports put the number of deaths from this civil war and subsequent fighting as high as 300,000.
Traditionally, along with other people groups, the Dinka and the Nuer, have not lived with a centralized political authority. They are from cattle cultures where livestock is a measure of wealth, and cattle raids are common. Uniting such diversity under a common country flag is extremely challenging. Although they identify as primarily Christian, African religious traditions and their value system are very influential.
In addition, South Sudan and its surrounds are experiencing a drought and famine that threatens the lives of millions of people. It is often unsafe for relief agencies to bring aid. Third party countries are hesitant to intervene.
Anuol’s goal is to educate school children from all ethnic backgrounds and help them learn to put aside historical differences and hatred under the headship of God. But, the unrest in the capital Juba makes it unsafe to open a school at this time. Instead, Anuol is overseeing the education of 57 children in neighboring Uganda.
Along with Anuol, let’s pray that God will rise up South Sudanese leaders of vision who will humbly submit themselves to the God of the Universe and move toward stable governance.