Nyagoa (11) is Finding Respite in Play After Fleeing Sudan’s Violence

Nyagoa is finding solace in the simple joy of playing Ludo at a transit centre in Malakal, South Sudan. This respite comes after a harrowing journey back to South Sudan from Khartoum where she had been living for 10 years as a refugee.
Nyagoa is finding solace in War Child's TeamUp Programme in Malakal, South Sudan

Childhood shattered

Nyagoa's childhood was shattered before it even got started. At the age of one, her parents were killed in the conflict between South Sudan's government and the SPLM-IO forces. Rescued by her uncle, they fled to Sudan for safety.

In Khartoum, Nyagoa faced the hardship and insecurities typical of refugee children - often alone, unprotected and with disrupted education.

In April 2023, Nyagoa's life was once again turned upside down as conflicts erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces, plunging Khartoum into violence.

Displaced and returned

Forced to flee once more, Nyagoa joined her uncle and a staggering 387,000 others on a perilous three-day journey back to the South Sudanese border. After winding their way along the west bank of the Nile River, they arrived exhausted and hungry in Joda. Here they crossed the border to South Sudan and found temporary shelter at a transit centre in Malakal.

Here, Nyagoa and her uncle received critical support from War Child. In Malakal, we provide a wide range of support activities to refugee and returnee children and their families. This includes primary education support, cash assistance, psychosocial support, individual case management and trainings of community leaders, teachers and government social workers on child protection.

We also raise awareness on how to prevent family separation and where to find support.

Nyagoa is finding solace in War Child programmes in Malakal, South Sudan

War Child programmes in Malakal, South Sudan enhance children mental health.

Healing through play

With the help of War Child, Nyagoa began to heal, express her emotions and rebuild her life. She found solace in our child-friendly "Safe Space", where she participated in evidence-based activities such as the movement-based TeamUp intervention.

Here, she made new friends, Gisma and Nyandeng, and learned to play and trust again.

Inspired by her experience, Nyagoa now dreams of becoming a humanitarian worker when she grows up.

"I see how children like me can be helped," she says. "Maybe I can give hope to other children who have lost everything."

To date, War Child has supported 23,709 children in South Sudan's key returnee and refugee centres. Nyagoa's story is a powerful reminder of the resilience of children in the face of adversity.