Transforming futures by the banks of the Nile

By Brian Hilton, Food Security Advisor at World Vision Australia

Not every story has a happy ending. This is a story of a happier ending – but not necessarily a happy ending.

This is the story of Theresa and her family, and how some simple seeds are helping to transform their lives.

I made the arduous trip up the Nile on a series of three United Nations flights from Juba, the capital of South Sudan. This area of South Sudan is one of the most remote places in the world and it becomes completely cut off during the rainy season. While there is some boat traffic to the north, your boat might be shot at if you travel south to Juba. This is the part of the Nile River that is called the White Nile, named almost two centuries ago for the fine white clay in the river. Today it looks more like a brown Nile due to the heavy sediment load from Uganda and South Sudan.

Theresa, her husband Machar and their five children recently arrived at Melut Refugee Camp, which sits by the banks of the Nile. They are originally from Baliet County, about 100 kilometres from Melut. In 2013 their village came under attack by militants. There was no chance to plan or pack – they just ran. Theresa, Machar and the children managed to get to safety, but almost everyone from their ethnic group was killed – including Theresa’s mother.


After being forced to flee her home. Theresa is working hard to make a better life for her family.

The family took a boat north to the refugee camp in Melut, before relocating to a refugee camp in Uganda for several years. But Theresa fell ill and the family decided to return to South Sudan. They now live on a one-and-a-half-acre plot of land outside of the refugee camp.

To help Theresa and her family rebuild their lives, World Vision has provided them with sorghum and maize crops and Theresa was trained in plant spacing and planning. They also received moringa trees, the leaves of which are high in iron and vitamins A and C, and two female goats to try and start a small goat herd.

With these resources Theresa and Machar can build brighter futures for their family. They can now provide nutritious food for their children while also building a small business that will sustain them long term. With ongoing access to nourishing food, their children can grow up healthy and strong so that they can attend school and build futures full of opportunity.

Ultimately, Theresa and Machar would like to take their children home, but their area is still unsafe, especially for people in their ethnic group. While their new farm is humble, the family is working hard and making the best out of their situation. I do feel that Theresa’s children have a better future now, being out of Baliet County. I also thought that there must be some World Vision supporters who helped to make this all happen.   

You could help to make it all happen

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