Forced to flee or left behind: The struggle for survival in Yambio, South Sudan

In recent months, intensified violence in the Equatorias region of South Sudan has forced thousands of people out of their homes, tearing families and communities apart. While some were uprooted and are struggling to adapt and survive in unfamiliar places, others were left behind to cope on their own.

John

Displaced by fighting from their village, John and his family are now living in the town of Yambio. The Equatorias region is renowned for its agriculture and John used to grow beans, okra, potatoes and oranges in his farm. Besides farming, he was a tailor. These activities provided a good income for the family and he could afford the schooling for his nine children. Now the farm is out of reach, on the other side of the frontline. John managed to bring his sewing machine with him, but it was damaged on the road and he doesn’t have spare parts to repair it. “Besides I can’t compete with the tailors in town. People here don’t know me so I hardly get any customers,” he says. John and his elder sons, who had to leave school, are supporting the family by doing odd jobs: collecting firewood, making bricks, and working as daily workers. John tries to get to know the local people so he can get more work. Unaccustomed to the life in town, he dreams of returning to his village.

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