Preserving dignity is essential to maintaining self-esteem and confidence, which are critical to protection and coping in stressful humanitarian situations. Like many other girls in South Sudan, 15 years old Joyce was excited to receive dignity kits last April 2023 at the Child-Friendly Space in Tambura Western Equatoria State through the Joining Forces for Children Protection in Emergencies project (JF CPiE).
Joyce has been missing school each month due to her inability to afford sanitary pads to cope with the stigma associated with menstrual hygiene. She was worried that her absences would hinder her from achieving her dream of becoming a nurse. Hence, when she received the dignity kit, she felt her life was about to “change.”
“The dignity kit made me feel more like myself again. It has given me the required items to take care of my personal hygiene and dignity. The kit has made my life a little bit easier. I can move, go to school and market, see friends, and play freely without fear,” she exclaimed.
Joyce was among the 4,000 girls and teenage women, including survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and other vulnerable groups, in Tambura and Juba who received culturally-appropriate dignity kits as part of the Joining Forces for Child Protection in Emergencies (JF-CPiE*) project.
The kit has made my life a little bit easier. I can move, go to school and market, see friends, and play freely without fear.
With funding support from the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), the project targets to support host communities and internally displaced persons affected by inter-communal conflicts and natural disasters, where the need for dignity kits has grown rapidly. The JF-CPiE project established and supported eight child and youth safe spaces in Tambura and Juba. The spaces have been essential in providing psychosocial support, counseling, identifying the most vulnerable, and referral to other external service providers.
Dignity kits promote protection, physical and psychosocial well-being, mobility, and hygiene for girls and women of reproductive age and girls at risk. The kits allow women and girls to meet their own needs while also meeting the needs of their families.
The value of dignity kits is more than material. According to a story written by Thon Malith, World Vision South Sudan project officer, entitled ‘Dignity kits give girls in South Sudan a fair shot to dare greatly,’ receiving dignity kits in a time of need was beneficial to girls and women as it made them feel as though they had not been forgotten.
* Joining Forces for Child Protection in Emergencies (JF-CPIE) project is a 2-year project funded by the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) with a primary focus on children and their protection in emergencies. The project aims to address the needs of at least 88,000 individuals affected by crises in Central Equatoria State (Munuki and Mangalla Payams) and Western Equatoria State (Source Yubu and Tambura Payams).
Story by Simon Mboringbanani, World Vision South Sudan JF-CPiE Case Supervisor based in Tambura