Children in South Sudan Face Another Christmas Far From Home

Media Contact :

Brian P. Duss
Senior Public Relations Manager
[email protected]
m 202.679.1620

These three children are among tens of thousands internally displaced by the conflict in South Sudan. PHOTO: World Vision / Melany Markham
These three children are among tens of thousands internally displaced by the conflict in South Sudan. PHOTO: World Vision / Melany Markham

Juba, SOUTH SUDAN (December 8, 2014) — As South Sudan marks one year since conflict broke out last December, nearly 750,000 children are facing another Christmas season far from home. In a report released Monday, World Vision found South Sudan’s children are trading books for jobs and called on international donors to work to bring peace to the war-torn country.

In the report, Fear & Want — Children Living in Fear in South Sudan (PDF), World Vision found that child labor is replacing the classroom for many children. They’ve had to spend more time working and less time in school because of the conflict. Many children are expected to help support their families, working at market stalls, transporting goods, or collecting water. If this trend continues, these children are at risk of growing up to be uneducated and underemployed, a bleak future for South Sudan.

“These children live in fear,” said Perry Mansfield, National Director of World Vision in South Sudan. “They want a normal life – more school and less work – and with nearly 750,000 children displaced and 60 percent of the population under 18, we need to think about what kind of future South Sudan can expect,” he added.

All of the children World Vision spoke to expressed a desire to return to school, but this has become nearly impossible. According to the UN, since the beginning of the crisis, over 1,100 schools have been closed (PDF) and at least 124 schools are reportedly being used for military purposes (up nearly 400 percent from six months ago).

Earlier this year, World Vision released a report (PDF) warning the international community that “things would get unimaginably worse for children” unless urgent measures were taken. Sadly, six months later, things have gotten worse. According to UNICEF, more children have been displaced, more have been recruited into armed groups, and more have been separated from their families.

Despite the grim outlook, World Vision has reached over 175,000 children with projects ranging from nutrition and education to child friendly spaces and food assistance.

World Vision calls on donors and the humanitarian community to:

  • Protect emergency and development funding
  • Fully fund child protection and education programs
  • Expand funding for mental health and psychosocial support

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To schedule an interview with World Vision’s National Director in South Sudan, please contact: Brian P. Duss +1.202.679.1620

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.


  • Nearly 750,000 children have fled for their lives since conflict began last December.
  • New World Vision report finds that “child labor is replacing the classroom” for children.
  • Over 6,600 children have been separated from their families.


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