South Sudan, the world's newest country (2011), also ranks as the "most vulnerable." In late 2013, the government launched its first high-level policy to promote the rights of children, especially orphans and vulnerable children. One of the most graphic examples of this need is the number of boys and girls living on the streets and in slums, cemeteries, markets, and "rakubas" (broken shacks made of materials salvaged from trash heaps). Girls, in particular, become targets for child trafficking. In a new country struggling to create infrastructure and social justice systems, the role of nonprofit humanitarian projects is essential.
Confident Children Out of Conflict (CCC) was founded in 2007 when Cathy Groenendijk saw the need for a refuge that could be a source of renewal for street children. After two years of providing hungry street children with a weekly meal, she began expanding support with the help of the Rotary Club of Juba. It was estimated that there were about 1,500 street children. Today, the number has grown to 3,000 or more. From ages 6 to 25, they are in need of basic education, training and nutrition; psycho-social support; and advocates for their well-being.
Photo credit: Bruno Feder
the residential center.
CCC began as a drop-in center operating from one house. Then came a piece of land and a building. Today, there is a residential center, playground and area for meals accommodating up to 40 children. Dormitory rooms are decorated with stuffed toys, books and linens to feel comfortable and safe. A growing individual student scholarship program makes it possible, depending on donor contributions, to send children to school by paying for fees, books, uniforms, materials, and oversight. Annually, CCC provides up to 600 children with various forms of support that:
- HOUSE orphans and at-risk children in a clean, joyful residential center;
- EDUCATE children through school scholarships and extracurricular programs;
- REUNIFY children with families when it is safe to do so;
- FACILITATE youth, women and community-level discussions and training on gender-based violence, HIV, healthy living, vocational skills, and small business development.
training are provided
at the center.
Starting with the Scholarship Campaign 2015, CCC aspires to provide as many comprehensive and complete scholarships as possible that cover everything a child needs to attend school with confidence, including: socks, sanitary and hygiene supplies for girls, shoes, books, building fees, holiday class fees, examination fees, and social counseling for each child. Each complete individual child scholarship is $400 per year.
In addition, a longer-term goal is expansion of social enterprise programs that provide skills and job opportunities. This can include handcrafted products, agriculture, and construction.
Photo credit: Richard Myrenberg
Cathy Groenendijk serves as Executive Director, overseeing a small paid team with support from South Sudanese and expatriate volunteers. Cathy was born in eastern Uganda, and grew up in a family of 11 children on a farm. With the family facing economic challenges, a decision was made to have Cathy live with an aunt when she was 3 years old. Cathy studied nursing and later worked as a nurse in northern Uganda. She met her husband Wim in Uganda. They have lived in the Netherlands, and together, managed healthcare, agriculture and food security projects in response to the 1994 Rwanda genocide. They arrived in southern Sudan in 1999 and have stayed since. Cathy is a member of the Rotary Club of Juba, South Sudan. Cathy is a recipient of the 2015 TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery Award, awarded by the Department of State to honor individuals around the world who have devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking.