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Young mother in South Sudan rises from early pregnancy to pursue her studies

“Allowing my parents' absence lead me into wrong decisions almost ruined my life”, shares Adut a 17-year-old, mother of one. But she said she has learned from her mistakes and is not giving up her dreams in life.

Born and raised in Khartoum, Sudan, Adut and her family were repatriated back to South Sudan in 2010 after their father abandoned them.

She recalls, “Right from 2003, my mother struggled to provide for us. But seeing her not giving up gave us the courage to keep pushing until 2017. When she left us, we became helpless and unguided, leading to my early pregnancy. I was barely 15 years old when I got pregnant.”

Adut's mother Aluel plays a key role in giving her courage and support to go back to school.

 

“But I could not marry the boy who impregnated me due to some traditions. He was 20 years old but since his elder brothers have not been married at that time, it prohibited him from getting ahead of them. It was believed to bring bad luck for his elder brothers”, she adds.

Adut’s mother Aluel Morwel said she went back to Khartoum due to helplessness as she watched watch her children suffer. “I was hoping to achieve something to support them but nothing worked. When I returned, Adut was pregnant and I blamed myself for it”, she says.

A local tradition prevented Adut to marry to boy who got her pregnant. She now raises her son Dhal with support from her family.

 

“But I realized blaming myself will not solve anything. So I decided to forward, support my girl and take care of my grandson Dhal so she can go back to school”, shares Aluel.

As a faith leader and protection counsellor in the community, I am a source of hope for young girls like Adut. I appreciate World Vision for equipping us with the skills to help and encourage the girls.

“I did not get the chance to go to school because my parents never supported me. But now I know through the knowledge I gained from World Vision’s protection committee. I want Adut to study, so she can have a better future”, she adds.

Adut says, “I am often mocked and discouraged in the community about my decision to go back to school. But my mother and the counselling from Mary Ayak, one of World Vision's community and protection committee members, gave me the courage to stand up and move on from my mistakes.”

On her free time from school, Adut helps her family with the work in their farm.

 

Mary Ayak, a trained World Vision community-based child protection committee member, says “As a faith leader and protection counsellor in the community, I am a source of hope for young girls like Adut. I appreciate World Vision for equipping us with the skills to help and encourage the girls.”

Ayak adds, “This protection initiative gives women like me a sense of confidence and ownership in what we do for our community. Even if the project ends today, we can support our people in the community.”

World Vision's Protection Officer Wilfred Wol in one of his regular visits to help monitor the progress of girls like Adut and her family.

 

Wilfred Wol, World Vision’s Child Protection Officer in Warrap State says, “Child-based community protection committees are very important. They help identify and report child protection issues and concerns, connect and link survivors of gender based violence to organizations who can support them.”

“Their achievements are huge. They help push for community awareness campaigns to stop child abuses that happen in communities. In Warrap State, they mobilized children in nine schools to enroll and attend classes, helped advocate for children’s and human rights and disseminate information on Covid-19 prevention measures”, Wol concludes.

Story and photos by Scovia Faida Charles Duku, Communications Coordinator