Violence will turn back the clock in South Sudan

TORONTO, Jan. 6 /CNW/ - A return to violence for South Sudan will have grave consequences for the future of its children, say global children's NGO, Plan International.

Plan's Director in South Sudan, Fikru Abebe said, "The referendum is a defining moment in Southern Sudan's history, but it is imperative that no matter what the outcome, people do not live in fear of a return to violence.

"After years of war and uncertainty, the people of Southern Sudan are now looking forward to determining their own future and a return to violence would undo the excellent work that the government and communities have achieved here.

"Plan has been working closely with the government, donors and communities here in Southern Sudan to rehabilitate and expand technical and vocational training institutes for young people. This support has increased the enrolment of girls in primary education and re-integrates former child soldiers into communities through skills training and work placement as part of the peace building initiative", states Mr. Abebe.

Plan International is calling on all parties to avoid at all costs any further instability or bloodshed in the country and region. Instability and violence would lead to children dropping out of formal education and would leave many at risk of being recruited once again as child soldiers.

An estimated 3 million returnees are on the move to Southern Sudan and this large influx is highly likely to place added pressure on services and communities.

"Plan has developed a contingency plan so we will be able to respond quickly to any humanitarian needs which may result from this massive influx of people. Our experienced team on the ground are ready to respond to and we will upscale all areas of our current work which includes child protection, psychosocial work and education in disasters", states Abebe.

Highlights:

  • Over the past five years Plan has been working with the South Sudan government to rebuild the country after more than two decades of civil war killed two million people and displaced four million.
  • Two independent feasibility studies carried out in Canada concluded that increasing vocational training and skills for young people is essential for helping secure the country's peaceful future.
  • One hundred and fifty students have now enrolled at the Plan supported $4.2 million landmark Juba Technical High School, which provides marginalised communities - especially young people and former child soldiers - with skills training in subjects from electronics to hospitality.

Plan Canada's Regional Advisor for East and South Africa, Ndungu Kahihu, works frequently in South Sudan and is available for interviews.

SOURCE Plan Canada

For further information:

For more details on Plan's work in Sudan, feasibility studies, case studies, pictures and interviews please contact:

Kristy Payne
Plan Canada
Media Relations Manager
Kpayne@plancanada.ca
416 920 1654

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Plan Canada

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