South Sudan is the world´s youngest country, winning independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of fighting. However, the fight for independence was soon replaced by a bloody civil war, which has paralyzed the country's development since 2013. Today, violence and deteriorating living conditions have led South Sudan into a humanitarian crisis. Currently more than two million people have fled their homes and more than half live in Ugandan refugee camps. 65% of South Sudanese refugees are under 18.
Play for Peace South Sudan started in 2015, when the organization Plan International supported the training of 500 teachers, youth, and community leaders. Peace was an important topic for them and it was clear that they find peace to be fundamental for development. The Play for Peace games sparked hope in participants, who saw how play can be used to help children overcome traumatic experiences. As a result, participants expressed their desire for Play for Peace to spread beyond schools into whole communities, and eventually into the entire state of South Sudan.
Today, the Play for Peace club in South Sudan offers regular practice peace sessions. Local leaders are using Play for Peace to bring together children and youth from different ethnic backgrounds, including internally displaced people. Amid war and violence, Play for Peace offers opportunities to gain trust and cooperation. South Sudan has a long way to go, but the strong desire for peace will prevail.
"We need Play for Peace to continue. It cannot stop here. Then maybe, when we bring the students together, there can be peace in the schools. When we bring communities together, maybe there can be peace in South Sudan."
Play for Peace Training Workshop Participant
Juba, South Sudan
South Sudan Club
Juba, South Sudan
With Coronavirus lockdowns expanding globally, billions of people in Africa are faced with unprecedented restrictions and turmoil. Despite all of this, our clubs there are working hard to support their communities, providing access to food, basic necessities, and emotional support.
Play for Peace Sudan cofounder Riya Yuyuda presented at the first-ever TEDx event at a refugee camp in Kenya, speaking about her experience as a refugee who fled violence and war.
In South Sudan, 20 children participated in a Play for Peace Global Games session that explored the themes of peace and identity.