As the World Food Programme is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Abdulaziz Abdulmomin speaks to Susana from South Sudan
This article is part of a series to mark the World Food Programme (WFP) receiving the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize in Rome on 10 December. Click here to watch 'The People's Prize' event on Facebook
After decades of conflict and violence to gain independence from Sudan, the citizens of the world’s youngest country were looking towards the prospect of peace and building their new nation.
Susana was among those who held high hopes for the future of South Sudan, however this optimism was short-lived. Ethnic war once again erupted in South Sudan in 2013 between two of South Sudan’s main populations— the Dinka and the Nuer — who had previously fought together in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army to gain South Sudan’s independence.
Susana’s new country once again spiralled into conflict, taking her newfound hope along with it.
She tried her best to forge onward despite the circumstances, but she was forced to flee her home in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State due to insecurity and instability.
Like many of her fellow South Sudanese, Susana trekked northward and crossed the border to Sudan leaving her land, her belongings, and all her memories behind in search of food and safety.
In a country she was once a citizen of, Susana settled into the Um Sangoor refugee camp in White Nile State.
As mother of six children at the age of 33, she struggles to make ends meet and relies on food assistance from the World Food Programme (WFP) to get by. Susana is among nearly 36,000 refugees in the camp who receive monthly food rations from WFP that include sorghum, lentils, vegetable oil and salt, enabling them to put food on their tables.
“I am very thankful to WFP for reducing our suffering,” she says. “Without this assistance, we would not be able to stay here as we have no relatives to support us or any reliable source of income to depend on. It is this assistance that enables us to survive.”
The little money Susana earns as a domestic housemaid in the nearest town, she invests in the education of her children. They are living and studying in schools in Kosti, some 60km away from Um Sangoor refugee camp, due to lack of schools in the camp.
“As a refugee, it is not easy for me to provide food for my six children and pay for their education at the same time,” she says. “Fortunately, the food burden is being taken care of, thanks to WFP’s continuous support.”
Susana hopes to see her children become doctors or ministers who can serve their communities and contribute to the development of South Sudan.
“I am doing all I can to see my children complete their education,” she says. “I am praying day and night for stability and security in my country so that we can return home to our farms and reunite with our beloved ones whom we greatly miss.”
Thanks to support from WFP, she has been able to persevere in spite of conflict and hardship. Despite all she has endured in her life, Susana sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
The assistance that WFP has given her much more than just food on her plate. Without the constant worry of her family going hungry, Susana is still able to hold onto the dream of a better future for her children and strives towards that ambition.
Susana is among nearly 100 million people who receive WFP food assistance each year, many of whom, like her, are affected by conflict. In eight out of ten of the world’s main food crises, conflict and insecurity are among the key drivers of acute hunger. Over 60 percent of the world’s hungry live in countries affected by conflict.
Susana’s story is just one of many that demonstrate the link between conflict and hunger and the critical role that food assistance plays in supporting the first steps towards peace and stability.
WFP’s work in Sudan is made possible thanks to generous contributions from Canada, Denmark, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), EU International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF), the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.