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Faith Nyasuguta

In Sudan, more than 10 million children have been living within five kilometers of active warzones, constantly exposed to the sounds of gunfire, shelling, and other deadly violence over the past year of conflict, according to a report by Save the Children.

Analysis conducted by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project on behalf of the charity revealed that one in two children in Sudan has either been currently or previously within five kilometers of the frontlines of the conflict. 

This marks a significant increase of 60% from the initial estimate of 6.6 million children exposed to violence in the first month of the fighting. The findings underscore the alarming escalation and expansion of the conflict across the country.

Many of these children have not only witnessed but also experienced the devastating consequences of the violence, including injuries, death, displacement, psychological trauma, and the destruction of their homes and communities.

Among the millions affected is sixteen-year-old Jouman*, who, along with her family, was forced to flee Sudan in November last year. They sought refuge in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where Jouman now resides with her mother. She attends a school for refugees supported by Save the Children.

Reflecting on her experience, Jouman shared, “The fighting was really tough. We never imagined that we would have to flee Sudan.” Despite the challenges of displacement, she finds solace in the friendships she has formed at school, particularly with her best friend, Hanaa*, who also fled Sudan.

In Cairo, Jouman dreams of becoming a doctor one day, hoping to use her skills to help others in need. However, she remains nostalgic for the days she spent back home with her family, reminiscing, “I had my brother and some freedom. But here, I only stay at home. We can only hope for God’s help.

While Jouman considers herself fortunate to be able to attend school in Egypt, she is keenly aware of the challenges faced by many other Sudanese children who lack access to education and basic necessities.

“I did not believe I would go to school. We need books. We hardly found a home because rent is expensive. We have a lot of needs. We need bedding and things to use [at home]. We do not have much,” she expressed.

/AP News/

However, Jouman is one of the luckier ones. Millions of children in Sudan have been deprived of education, adequate food, and basic healthcare over the past year. Thousands remain at risk of death from disease amid the ongoing conflict.

Peter*, a teacher at a school catering to refugee children in Egypt, has witnessed firsthand the profound impact of displacement on the students. He noted that many exhibit signs of trauma, ranging from aggression and withdrawal to difficulty concentrating and heightened emotional sensitivity.

Peter has been in Egypt for four years and is in his third year as head teacher at the school which welcomes refugee children from Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya.

He says the suffering and displacement the children have experienced is impacting their behaviour.

Some become violent because of the violence they saw. Others are extremely quiet, while other cannot focus on anything. And some are very sensitive and cry for anything.“

As the violence continues unabated, Save the Children emphasizes the urgent need for greater protection for Sudan’s children. Dr. Arif Noor, Sudan Country Director for the charity, condemned the unimaginable suffering endured by children in conflict zones, stressing that no child should have to endure such hardships.

*Not their real names.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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