"We were hopeless but you found our father”
In September, Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) team in Bor (South Sudan) successfully reunified 14 children with their parents in Akobo. The children were living in the Bor, Protection of Civilians site, after being separated from their parents during the conflict in 2013. They have spent the last 18 months living with relatives or in foster care within the Bor Protection of Civilians site. In September, their long-awaited dreams of being reunited with their parents came true.
To indentify the children and reunify them with their parents in Akobo, the NP's South Sudan team in Bor used a system called Rapid Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR). This system acts as a tool for humanitarian aid workers to assess the situation of separated children, register and upload photos of the children, search for family members, and share vital information with other trusted organizations. The system is used to locate thousands of children and caregivers separated as a result of the conflict. Using data from NP, the Save the Children team in Akobo identified and matched the children with their parents. All of them were very eager to be reunited.
The NP team accompanied the children to Akobo where the group was greeted by staff members from Save the Children and UNICEF, along with the children’s parents. It was an emotional moment for the children, and their parents embraced each child with tears of joy.
Although the entire South Sudan population has the freedom of movement in the country, it is questionable for children to be travelling about during the conflict. It was not easy for NP to get approval for these children to move from Bor to Akobo. However, because of NP’s strong relationships with local authorities and partnerships with other humanitarian organizations in the area, 14 children are back with their families.
‘‘Thanks for finding our loving father and reuniting us with him. As we lost our loving mother, we were hopeless. But now you found our father and gave us hope to live on with him.’’ - A 14-year-old boy shares the happiness after being reunited with his father after 18 months of separation.