South Sudan turns five years old on July 9, 2016.  South Sudan is the world’s youngest country and was founded during a time of peace, but in 2013 armed conflict broke out.  The fact conflict continues means children born in South Sudan have no memories of a time before their country was war-torn.

Can you imagine?  What were you doing when you were five years old?  I was starting kindergarten.  I spent my days reading books and playing with toys.  I didn’t go hungry and had a roof above my head.

Clearly, I was very lucky compared to most children in the developing nation of South Sudan. 1/5 of the country’s population, or more than 2.3 million people, have been forced to flee their home since war broke out.  Nearly half of the country’s inhabitants are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.  These statistics are staggering, but they also make it easy to forget that they are representative of real people.

South Sudan Turns Five Years Old

Last month interviewed five year old girls in South Sudan.  Here are a few of their stories:

South Sudan Turns Five Years Old


Zeieya’s home was destroyed when war came to her town in 2014.  She helps care for her family’s goat and hopes it gives birth so she can drink the milk.  Zeieya has no toys and doesn’t go to school, instead she spends hours collecting firewood for money.

South Sudan Turns Five Years Old


Chianyal lived in a forest before finding shelter in a UN camp.  She doesn’t go to school so she can look after her baby sister, Nyanen.  She jumps rope and makes mud figurines with other kids in the camp.  She contracted malaria this past May.

South Sudan Turns Five Years Old


Nyahok’s home was burned to the ground in 2014.  With no crops or cattle, she eats porridge made from grains and wild leaves.  Her favorite game is mixing dirt with water to pretend she’s cooking food.

Not only are these five year old girls being robbed of their childhood, but they live without clean water and proper nutrition.  Chances are, your life was very different when you were five years old…

Luckily, CARE has launched a campaign to try and help the children of South Sudan.  If you read this blog regularly then you know I’m a supporter of CARE and the organization’s mission.  If you’re unfamiliar, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization working to fight global poverty.

What can you do to help?

If you’re able to, donate to South Sudan here.  If you’re not able to donate, that’s okay too.  Please share this post with others through social media using the hashtag #SouthSudan to spread awareness about South Sudan’s plight and CARE’s aid efforts.  You can find out more about CARE and these girls here.

 *Photos taken by photographers.  This post is sponsored by CARE but the content and opinions are my own.