American abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass said ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’
However, five years into the conflict in South Sudan, more than half of the nation’s children are suffering from famine, diseases, forced recruitment and lack of education. 70% of schools have closed since 2013. This situation is only compounded by worsening economic conditions and limited access to vital resources such as food and fuel. How can the nation of South Sudan build strong children when there is no foundation?
Despite the numerous challenges, the Trumpeter Community Health project works hard to reach schooled children as well as those who are absent from school, aiming to strengthen children in their fight for clean and healthy living. The Trumpeters engage with pupils at school health clubs where they run interactive hygiene training. However, including children who are not in school is more of a challenge. Scouring the local area, the Trumpeter workers visit homes and markets to find children and reach as many as possible.
During these sessions, children are taught basic sanitation principles like why hand washing is important and how to use soap or ash to make sure their hands are as clean as possible. Primarily, this training save children’s lives as they avoid diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. However, having the Trumpeters take an interest in them also encourages the children to take responsibility for ensuring their own hygienic living. Every month, the Trumpeters reach approximately 400 children.