South Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world. Even before finally gaining independence in 2011, the country was marked by decades of violent conflicts and civil wars. Today, several million people are on the run, in part also due to secondary conflicts. According to the United Nations, around 8.9 million people in South Sudan are currently dependent on humanitarian aid. 7.7 million people suffer from hunger and 4.3 million people are homeless. Climate change further aggravates their situation, as South Sudan is one of the regions most affected by the climate crisis worldwide.
Women and children form the largest group among South Sudanese refugees, accounting for 80 percent. 1.4 million children are severely malnourished, and one in ten will not live to see their fifth birthday. The situation is currently exacerated by the Ukraine-Russia war and the resulting lack of wheat supplies. The region lacks clean drinking water, sufficient food, basic hygiene facilities, sanitary facilities and medical care. In short, South Sudan lacks everything – most of all hope.
"ZF hilft." has been working with its reliable partner "Help" for a long time. The organization has been active in South Sudan for ten years and acts according to the motto "Helping others to help themselves". According to one affected mother, babies often did not survive the frequent periods of famine: "But since the team from 'Help' comes to our village and takes us to the treatment center in time with our children, no child in my village has died of hunger."
The focus of "ZF hilft." in collaboration with "Help" is to support refugees and host communities in South Sudan. The current project will provide relief to smallholder cooperatives, women-headed households and orphaned children in the Yirol East and West regions. Yirol is part of Lakes State, one of South Sudan's hotspots of greatest need. 10,000 people will receive intensive support here for five months to lay the foundations for further improving their situation. The donations from "ZF hilft." address the three biggest challenges: Food, water and basic services. The highest priority is food: Agricultural cooperatives will be getting drought-resistant seeds, training and solar-powered irrigation systems through the campaign.