South Sudan: Searching for Abel’s mum
Decades of war and ongoing conflicts within South Sudan have disrupted the social fabric and destroyed the protective environment for children. As a result, children are exposed to family separation, lack of adult support, exploitation, abduction and violence.
Three-year-old Abel was separated from his parents during an attack on his village. His home was destroyed, and Abel witnessed his father and grandparents being killed during the attack.
Abel’s mother is still missing, but said to be alive. His sister and one brother are confirmed alive, and are with his father’s older brother. Abel is currently staying with his younger uncle Muolo.
Muolo is 24 and hopes to complete his primary education soon, but he’s worried he won’t be able to since the primary school was destroyed.
Muolo’s story in his own words
“Abel is the son of my oldest brother. The father of Abel, together with the grandmother and grandfather, all died. I was a bit moody and paralysed by the news. I was shocked when I heard of the death of my brother and my parents. I was in a sad mood.”
“I’m a student in Primary 8, but since I heard this bad news I became disappointed because the future is black. It is hard for me to go back where I study again and it is hard even to study here. I am determined to study, but the way forward is not possible. I plan to stay here, if I find a way of going to school.
“I don’t have many plans for Abel because my other elder brother Baksoro is still alive. He’s the one to say whether he’ll go to school or remain in the cattle camp. I hope that Abel goes home, every day he says: ‘I need mom, I need mom.’ He’s always asking for his mom, but I don’t know how to take him back home.
“There are two possibilities for Abel: the grandmother of the child – mother to the mother – and also the uncle – the brother to Abel’s mother – are both nearby. Maybe you can call them and tell them about Abel?”
Reuniting children with their families
We work closely with the government and local authorities to stop violence against children in schools and the community, and reunite lost or abducted children with their families.
Last year, we supported 680 separated children, including abducted children, children affected by emergencies, and 75 boys associated with armed forces and groups.
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the family involved.