#RealLifeHeroes go the extra mile to reach the most vulnerable in South Sudan's riskiest of places

It takes more than words, a heart and a deep passion to stay focused and deliver the much-needed lifesaving services in fragile contexts such as South Sudan. 

The country has witnessed intermittent civil war and localized inter-communal conflict since it gained independence in 2011An estimated 7.5 million of its population is still in need of humanitarian assistance.

With a severe lack of access to basic services in the face of huge needs, the role that humanitarians and development partners play is paramount, often urgent. South Sudan presents one of the most challenging operating environments for humanitarian organizations and aid workers.

This is often a result of a combination of factors including poor infrastructure leading to significant logistical challenges, pockets of restricted access due to insecurity, and shortage of supplies and services. 

Humanitarian workers in organizations like World Vision often find themselves in difficult situations to fulfill their obligations.

There are many locations and instances that test the patience and resilience of humanitarian workers, thereby creating real-life heroes who stand up to the challenge, go the extra mile in the face of extraordinary, life-threatening responsibilities.

These heroes go in the mighty Land Cruisers through the bushes, walk on on foot for miles, endure potholes in motorcycles, or brave the crocodile-infested Nile River in boats. Working successfully in South Sudan demands absolute commitment and an unwavering will.

Real-life heroes work like Peter who navigates the Nile River in Upper Nile State to transport staff and supplies deserve special recognition. From occasional engine failures with huge risks and no rescue mission in sight, these type of jobs indeed can only be achieved with the head, heart, and hand working in unison.

Another real life hero is someone like Marko in Warrap Zone’s Tonj North County who spend grueling hours battling the impassable mud during the rainy season when road movement becomes a potentially dangerous zig-zag dance during the rainy season. Add to this the dangers of being caught in the middle of unexpected communal clashes

On World Humanitarian Day, we applaud the humanitarians in South Sudan for the incredible efforts to save lives, uplift children's well-being and help build resilience in communities.

These heroes are #notatarget. All their hearts desire is to serve.

Related story: Meet our South Sudanese women humanitarians: Why they do what they do to serve their own people

Blog by Dr. Mesfin Loha, Country Programme Director, World Vision South Sudan