Being a south Sudanese girl
Written by: Nyachut Nek
I was born on 20th August 2002/South Sudan in a family of eight members. My country is a beautiful place but the wicked people have never given us the chance to strive.
The outbreak of war displaced us. I became a refugee in Kakuma Refugees Camp in Kenya.Today I can say that “Kenya is my happy place because I have actually learnt a lot from it and I have achieved some of my dreams specially about education”. Perhaps it is a peaceful place where my mind could relax, which I will never forget about it. Talking about Kenya, it is one of the East countries with Coastline on the Indian ocean. According to the research, it encompasses savannah, lakelands, dramatic great rift Valleys and highland mountains. It is home of wildlife, lions, elephants and rhinos. From Nairobi, which is the capital, safaris visit the Masai Mara Reserve known for its annual wildebeest migrations and Amboseli National Park, offering views of Tanzania’s 5895m Mt. Kilimanjaro. Kenya is indeed my happy place and I will be grateful forever with it.
Being the first girl in my society was a sin, whereby girls are seen as the source of wealth. When a girl is born only the relatives, uncles and parents start rejoicing and forever be happy in their moods.
I was the first girl of “Ahan Nek ” family, a family of six children. My parents were small scale farmers. They were not financially stable as we were living from hand to mouth. There were constructed schools, where only boys were allowed to go to schools, but girls were to remain at home and take care of house chores or their smaller siblings.
My elder brother was taken to Uganda to go and study there by my uncle. I was left behind in the name of remaining home to give to any man that is going to ask for my hand in marriage. My step-sisters were married off without their concern, they had no choice to choose whom they wanted to get married with. I was left in a stuck world where I had to decide whether I wanted to stay there or leave and leave all those odds behind.
My turning point came when my aunty was traveling to Kakuma refugee camp. In Kakuma there was free education, food, shelter, and water. Through her underlying support, I managed to escape the early marriage. And I termed it as running away from home to Kakuma Refugee Camp due to both force and early marriage.
On our way to Kakuma Refugee Camp, the UNHCR facilitated my traveling to Kakuma together with my aunty, who were resettled in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. I was as happy as a king, on our arrival to Kakuma. I was enrolled in a primary school where I completed my primary school and I was sponsored at the secondary school level by the Windle International Kenya. I then completed high school.
As I was studying, I always believed that my dreams and visions can be fulfilled as long as I concentrate on my studies.
At my school, I participated in leadership, debate forums, drama, netball team and also as a Christian Union member.
After high school, my aunty who had seen me through mysteriously passed on. This was heartbreaking for me as I was preparing for my university application. my heart was broken into pieces. It was an abrupt demise that affected my psychology.
Life wasn’t easy for me when my aunty passed on because my biological mother wasn’t able to pay for my tuition fee at the university level and they are both separated.
For all of those difficulties that I have undergone, I wanted to help the fellow girls that are left back and who are in the violence of early and child marriage. I would embrace diversities and that meeting with different people and cultural practices would help me with the ideas and solutions that I could use to help my fellow girls back home. It is always my joy and happiness seeing girls waking and grabbing their school bags and heading to school. The skills and knowledge that I am going to gain in my studies without any doubt will be life-changing not only for me but also for my citizens and those women who are not able to stand up by themselves.
I want to be the voice of the young women in South Sudan, I want women to be given chances and treated equally. I wish to inspire women from my community to follow their dreams and fight for all odds to attain the highest level of education. I desire to give back to society when I complete my studies and get a well-paid job. I want to support girls who have similar stories as mine. It is unfair for a child to not live his or her dream because of financial support. I would formulate and articulate ethical standards and develop the leadership skills which will guide my professional and personal life together. I would utilise to the fullest for my lifelong academic goals to cater for the suffering in the society.
4 September, 2022