Abandoned By Parents in War, South Sudanese Kids Embrace Hustling

By Staff Writer

At 15 years of age, Albino Gore was logically supposed to be under the care of parents, but its not the case for the South Sudanese boy who was abandoned by his only parent, the mother, two years ago.

Gore fled Kajo Keji when fighting was tense in the area in 2016, seeking refuge in the capital with his mother, an illiterate, jobless woman who could not easily afford a meal for the two.

Now he has turned to all sorts of ways to fend for himself – begging, stealing, and doing odd jobs.

“I survive only in the market by begging people and sometimes do manual work to get food,” Gore told Juba Echo.

His mother returned alone to Kajo Keji in 2019 abandoning Gore who now traverses the streets of Juba with other children who are also homeless seeking for any way to fill their belly while sleeping in the open. 

Gore recalls vividly that day when he returned from begging in the market to find she had gone.

He too turned to the streets.

Thousands of children across the country have been separated with their parents during the devastating crisis which began in December 2013.

Some were left orphaned while others had to separate with them while fleeing violence, and now ending up living on their own.

While the country implements a peace agreement to end that crisis, many of these children remain stranded, continuing to live on the streets, a life that contains all aspects of helplessness and criminology.

The sights of very young children hustling in Juba, just like Gore are many and heart wrenching.

Some simply cannot contemplate what life has in store for them back home and are not willing to take the step to the countryside.

Others fear returning to memories of the war which they wish banished from their minds.

James Deng refused to travel home in Aweil, the capital of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and was also abandoned by his parents in Juba and now admits “thinks are not easy.”

The 14 year old now is roaming the streets- hunger and a place to sleep peacefully are his main challenges.

 “I am just begging people here on the road to get something to eat,” he told Juba Echo.

“I will remain in Juba on the streets,” Deng said.

“I don’t know anybody here in Juba and my mother and father went to Aweil and I don’t want to go to Aweil.”

For Lado, he cannot even explain where his parents are.

The 10 year old is all on his own in Juba, the only means of survival is hanging on car windows in the hope someone would sympathize and give him a few SSP for a meal.

“I just sleep on the street from place to place,” Lado told Juba Echo.

“I sleep sometimes without food if nobody gives me something to eat.”

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