As COVID-19 cases steadily rise in South Sudan, many families are at risk of losing their income sources and facing the tougher battle against hunger. In the UK severe, unending hunger is not something many of us are familiar with, but over seven million people in South Sudan already suffer from food insecurity.
And with it, 14-year-old Martha, along with other girls, fear another impact of this worsening situation – ‘marriages’ that girls like her are forced into. Because as livelihoods have disappeared parents are desperate to find other ways to help their children survive. Sold off as a dowry or given with the promise of their child having a better future.
“I am afraid of being married off early so my family can survive”, says Martha sadly.
Martha dreams of helping change the way communities perceive girls through education. But for as long as COVID-19 exists, Martha’s dream is seriously threatened.
As schools closed to prevent the spread of the pandemic, it left an estimated 1.9 million children out of education. Along with conflict in the country, the bright future Martha has been aiming for is now on hold.
“Nothing scares me more than staying home now. It scares me that girls will be the next target for their families’ survival.”
Urgent prayers needed
World Vision’s Protection Officer Anthony seconded Martha’s concerns. “The girls’ ordeal of being married has started. Reports are starting to come in from our supported schools that some of them are forced to marry…we are doing our best to look into this issue and address their concerns.”
In your family and church please continue to pray with us. Because together, our prayers are needed to empower vulnerable children in the most dangerous places to overcome poverty and experience fullness of life.
“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him”. Psalm 127:3 (NIV)