10 May 2023

Football unites young people in South Sudan

posted on : 10 May 2023

The youngest state in the world, South Sudan experienced a civil war from the very beginning of its independence. AAH has chosen to give hope to the younger generation through the universal language of sport.

In many countries, football is just a sport. But for the people of Paguir, a region that has faced conflict, hunger and severe flooding for years, it’s also a moment of respite and a way to bond and be together…even if that hasn’t always been the case.

Young people have been in conflict for a very long time,” said John Wat, captain of the Thok Chak village football team. “It was a real problem for our community, because people were scared and we couldn’t be together”.

One day, a handful of young people armed themselves with courage and decided to put an end to this situation. They too deserved to have a space to play, a space to escape, even for a moment, the stress of living in a region ravaged by conflict and the climate crisis.

The kids started playing football,” says John.

At dawn, young people from the different villages of the region find themselves under the scorching sun. They’re not here to fight. They’re here to play.

It’s a sunny day and the heat is sweltering. Many people gather around the field, most of them in direct sunlight. No one wants to miss this game. The elderly, women and children come to watch their champions play the final match of the Paguir Football Championship.

There’s still a long way to go. Players are united, but face the immense challenges of inequality, hunger and poverty every day. Yet they dream of becoming professional players and celebrate each of their victories together. Ruot is from Paguir, but he is the captain of Puyai’s team and he celebrates his team’s victories with pride.

Far too many young people have lost their lives in the fighting,” he said. People need to forget the past. That’s why we play football together”.

Learn more about our missions in South Sudan: HERE

To read the full article: HERE

You will also like

20 February 2024

Access to drinking water: a major challenge

read the article

20 February 2024

Pakistan: Climate emergency

read the article