What 5 Years Old Looks Like in South Sudan – #SouthSudan

You may recognize that photo of Madison but it’s not very clear and it was done purposely because this post isn’t about her. Madison is 4 and we are currently celebrating our 4th of July celebrations. Madison is happy with not a care in the world. She has been able to go to school, has tons of toys that she very rarely plays with, owns an iPad, drinks water that is delivered to our home and never has to worry about going to bed hungry. She is very privileged and although I’m not rich, my kids have everything that they need. Madison lives in a country where the basics are easily accessible and help can be found on every corner. Unfortunately, that isn’t true for everyone around the world, especially for children in South Sudan. Today I want to focus on Zeieya who lives in South Sudan and who turns 5 this very month.

Photo Credit: CARE

This is Zeieya! Zeieya lives in South Sudan, the youngest country in the world. South Sudan will actually turn 5 years old on July 9th, 2016, just like Zeieya will turn 5 years old in July. South Sudan’s hope turned to despair just 2 years after a glimmer of hope was born in 2013 when the war broke out. Since then 2.3 million South Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes. That’s 1/5 of the country and nearly half of the country is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, and Zeieya is just one of them.

Photo Credit: CARE

Zeieya was born in peace, but has known nothing but war for the past 3 years of her life. Zeieya’s home was destroyed when war came to her town in 2014 and now she helps care for her family’s goat. The family is hoping that the goat will eventually have babies so that they can have milk to drink, something that our own kids take for granted. Summer temperatures can get to over 100 degrees where Zeieya lives and there are approximately 680,000 children living in South Sudan who are malnourished. When I think about children going hungry, it truly tugs at my heartstrings.

Photo Credit: CARE

As I mentioned before, we have a water delivery service and have our water delivered. My kids have never known what it’s like to not have a glass of water to drink and much prefer drinking juice. Zeieya doesn’t have that luxury. With there being not enough wells, there are often times she has to drink dirty water. She has no toys to play with and her favorite game is pretending to grind sorghum to eat. Currently there are 2.8 million people in South Sudan that are in urgent need of food assistance.

Photo Credit: CARE

Zeieya doesn’t go to school, but instead she spends hours collecting firewood for money. Did you know that South Sudan has the highest proportion of girls who aren’t in school of any country in the world? While those statistics might be hard to understand, because you were probably running around on the playground at the age of 5 with your other kindergarten friends, you had recesses and snacks and you didn’t have to worry about where your next meal was coming from. However, these are real people facing real struggles, and there are ways that you can help with the help of CARE.

CARE is a global humanitarian organization that fights poverty by empowering both girls and women and they have helped more than 300,000 people in South Sudan, but international funding is only a 1⁄4 of what is needed to help South Sudan recover.

A donation of $150 can provide full nutritional support for a malnourished child while $70 can provide a family with a crop kit so they begin growing food again. You can also donate whatever you can because every little bit of help they can receive will help the children of South Sudan and give them hope for a better and brighter future.

Once again, this is the face of my 4 year old, and when I watch her smiling face, I couldn’t begin to imagine her being in Zeieya’s place. Can you see your own child not being able to go to school, not being able to get a proper meal, have toys to play with or even clean water to drink? Take a moment and reach deep inside your heart and help the children of South Sudan today. Share this post with your family and friends and let’s make a difference in a 5 year old’s child life today.

Let’s discuss: What were you doing at the age of 5? 

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