Hundreds of victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) have been equipped with practical skills to march on from their dark past.
Kaka Konyi, a 25-year-old mother of two has regained her smile as she is determined to put to use her skills in tea making provided by IMA World Health a faith-based international organization supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).with funding from Central Emergency Response Fund(CERF) and VICTIMS Trust Fund (VTF).
“My life and that of my children was so miserable before, because I had been selling firewood which I pick from the bush,but now with the training I received from IMA World Health, I am able now to make tea in the market and earn good moneycompared to what I used to earn from selling firewood,” Konyitold the Dawn newspaper in Pibor on Friday.
Konyi is among 174 women that were trained by IMA World Health in different fields such as tailoring, handcraft, tea making, hair dressing and numeracy and literacy.
She is now able to earn between 30,000 to 40,000 South Sudanese Pounds on weekly basis from her tea business.
With the chairs and one table provided by IMA World Health, Konyi was able to start off her business that is currently supporting her family.
“I faced a lot of difficulties when I sold firewood, we used to go to the forest in a group because if you go alone you might fall in the hands of criminals who might beat you or even rape you, but now with my tea business I can wake up early in the morning to come to the market without fear,” said Konyi.
Musia John, a 25 –year-old, said she has been relived from loitering around in Pibor in such of menial work. With her tailoring skills acquired from IMA World Health training she is now confortable doing her tailoring work from her home.
“I have three children and taking care of them was not easy at first, but I thank God I was training in tailoring and it has changed my life, I will not suffer again with my children, now one of my eldest child is in school,” said John.
IMA World Health is a global, faith-based non-profit that offers sustainable and efficient solutions to health-related problems in the developing world.
A woman name withheld who is also beneficiary of the training, said she was abandoned by her husband after she was raped by four men.
She was raped in a forest where she had gone to collect fire wood.
“My husband refused to take care of me, he abandoned me completely claiming that I am a prostitute who slept with many men at the same time, at first I wanted to commit suicide but Iwas saved by the advice of my friends,” said the rape victim.
She was able to enroll for training in hair dressing which is earning her money to feed herself and her children.
“I don’t care now whether I have a husband or not because he is not even bringing anything at home, its due to his weakness that’s why I was raped,” she said.
She is now able to earn on daily basis some 20, 000 SSP from her hair dressing business.
Beatrice Kiden, IMA World health GBV Coordinator, said that they have so far trained several women including those with disability.
“These trainings were aiming at empowering the vulnerable women and girls to become self-resilient, and support their families,” said Kiden.
She said that GBV cases are happening because most women and girls only seek guidance from their male spouses who in turn wield more power and control over their choices.
“ With all these training, women are now in the markets doing business such as making clothes, tea shops, hair dressing to earn a living, these women are able to pay for school fees, medical bills of their children medical bills,” said Kiden.
Catherine Baga, UNFPA Humanitarian Response Analyst, said that they are implementing GBV program in Pibor through Women and Girls friendly space.
“We understand the current Women and Girls friendly space we are supporting is the only space in Greater Pibor, the reason we brought this project is to help women deal with issue of protection as related to prevention of GBV and also providing them with some response services,” said Baga
Baga added that the ongoing floods and communal conflict in Greater Pibor have led to increase in GBV cases including forced marriages.
She said that they are also supporting primary healthcare centreproviding services for rape victims.