Our journey to independence begins as soon as we are conceived in the womb ready to come out for a life expecting it to be free from physical and mental threats as all of us deserve.
How often do we accord respect and support to pregnant women who need material, financial, and emotional support during pregnancy, delivery, and puerperium, which is the period of about six weeks after childbirth?
Women who receive support from their family members more especially their husbands who should attend antenatal care and go to the health facility during the babies’ delivery. Women who lack such support end up delivering at homes alone, sometimes at the mercy of untrained traditional birth attendants and putting at risk both the mother’s and the child’s lives.
It is wise to wear the gender lens to keep our focus on the inequality that exists in our society. We can only achieve freedom from any kind of oppression through this lens and move forward to a gendered transformative society where women, men, boys, and girls have equitable life.
It is our duty and responsibility, yes you and me, to create a conducive environment free from violence against women and children to achieve a truly peaceful South Sudan. The practice of universal human rights must begin in our hearts, in our homes, so it can eventually contribute to national and global statistics.
If we give girls away for marriage to attain wealth, our real treasure is destroyed forever. But if we send them to school and support their dreams, they will be our treasure stored up in heaven.
The neighborhood, school, factory, farm, or office where we work are among the places where every person or child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning in these places, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall expect in vain for progress in the larger world.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus says “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Women and children are treasures in the family and community. How we take care of them determines what they will become. If we give girls away for marriage to attain wealth, our real treasure is destroyed forever. But if we send them to school and support their dreams, they will be our treasure stored up in heaven.
Let this Independence Day and every celebration thereafter be truly meaningful for every child and mother in South Sudan.
Cover photo: Nybol Abraham 18: “As we celebrate the independence, my wish is for all children regardless of their gender be given the rights to education to attain their future”
By Betty Adong, Advocacy and Protection Manager I Photo by Scovia Faida Charles, Communications Coordinator