Livelihoods Project in South Sudan Empowers Young Adults

16th April 2021

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A vehicle maintenance training programme is equipping impoverished youth with the skills needed to secure a job and provide for themselves and their families.

War, conflict, and violence have defined the lives of young adults in South Sudan. Their critical adolescent years were marked by uncertainty and fear, with little time to focus on anything other than day-to-day survival.

“For the longest time they struggled to find hope,” said Geoffrey Eben, a Samaritan’s Purse staff member in South Sudan. “Amid war and the repercussions of war, what were they supposed to hope for? What was there to look forward to?”

“They struggled to find hope.”

Young men and women in South Sudan are desperate for change. They are longing to be able to better support themselves and to help provide for their families. However, with scarce job opportunities, they have not had much reason to hope for a different life.

A Brighter Future

A unique livelihoods project organised by Samaritan’s Purse is on track to help change that. Nine adults, ages 18-25, recently completed their first year in a two-year programme designed to prepare them for jobs related to vehicle maintenance and repair. Students in the training programme are learning all kinds of different skills, from oil and filter changes to advanced services such as repairing ignition and brake systems.

This programme is just one of many projects Samaritan’s Purse is implementing in Jesus’ Name. Our teams also continue providing clean water, food, agriculture training, and discipleship training across South Sudan.

Students are learning all about vehicle maintenance and repair.

Students are learning all about vehicle maintenance and repair.

Geoffrey is an instructor in the training program, and he explained that in addition to their classes, the students are also juggling important commitments at home. They are responsible for tending the family’s crops, doing household chores, and caring for younger siblings. Yet, the students are willing to work hard and rarely miss a class.

Some students have even begun meeting with potential employers, eager to try and secure a job as a mechanic as soon as they graduate from our program.

“This training has restored their hope,” Geoffrey said. “They have something to look forward to. God has given them an opportunity and they want to use it to change their lives.”

Although some community members were at first skeptical of the unique pilot program, they’ve seen the students’ determination and recognised the tremendous life-changing potential of the training. Now, they’re eager for more young adults to participate.

“The experience of the students has spread through the community,” Geoffrey said. “People are asking when we will begin the second batch of students—they are waiting for it.”

Khalda’s Story

Several students in the programme come from refugee camps, including Khalda, who fled the Nuba Mountains with her grandmother. “The war destroyed us,” she said. “We came to South Sudan to hopefully build a better life.”

Khalda, 23, is the only female in the training program, but she isn’t intimidated. She was unanimously elected prefect of the class and helps with the day-to-day administration of the program. She said she enjoys the friendship and camaraderie of the other students, and is grateful for such a special opportunity to learn valuable skills.

“I’m hoping one day I can build my own space,” she said. “I want to set up a garage, repair vehicles, and provide employment to other people in my community.”

Khalda hopes to one day open her own business.

Khalda hopes to one day open her own business.

Her enthusiasm and dedication have inspired other young women to dream big and to do things they never thought possible.

“Because of Khalda’s example, 10 other women are waiting to enroll in the program,” Geoffrey said. “The vehicle maintenance programme has challenged Khalda to be more and to do more.”


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