Southern Sudan the challenges ahead Photograph: Karen Kasmasuki/CRS
January 2011: after decades of civil war, the people of Southern Sudan held a referendum in which they voted to separate from the north. But the peaceful vote was just the start. The challenges that lie ahead are immense. Photograph: Sara A. Fajardo/CRS
Civil war has raged in Sudan for forty of the last fifty-five years, and only ended with a peace agreement in 2005. Partly as a result of the conflict, Southern Sudan is one of the poorest regions in the world.
At Avumadrici primary school in Nimule, a student carries a blackboard to his outdoor classroom. Schooling shut down during the civil war. Now more than 90% of women in the south cannot read or write. A huge task facing Southern Sudan will be to provide quality education to all young people. Photograph: Karen Kasmasuki/CRS
Atooo Joska, with her daughter, Sandy, age two, in Magwi town, Magwi district. Joska is one of the lucky ones. A lack of doctors and rural health clinics have caused the south to have some of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world. Photograph: Karen Kasmasuki/CRS
A young girl in Amika village pumps water from a borehole. Nine out of ten people in rural Sudan cannot access clean drinking water. Photograph: Karen Kasmasuki/CRS
A man walks along the dirt roads of Amika Village in Magwi district. Southern Sudan, an area roughly the size of France, has only 30 miles of paved road. When the six-month rainy season comes, roads such as this one become impassable by vehicles and large areas of southern Sudan cannot be reached. Photograph: Karen Kasmasuki/CRS
The Sudanese churches are the first place people flock when in search of refuge, and they have been the main providers of health and education. Religious leaders played a crucial role in using their influence to maintain calm during the run-up to the referendum. Photograph: Karen Kasmasuki/CRS
Morri, who works for a CAFOD-supported Catholic radio station, queues to vote in the referendum this January. “This was a Sunday to remember for generations,” he says. “I will always celebrate and honour it as a day to remember the historical event of the great new nation that is coming.” Photograph: Emmanuel Tombe
But the referendum caused its own challenges.
In the past few months, an estimated 200,000 people have returned from the north of Sudan to the south over fears of uncertainty about their future.
The arrival of people adds to the pressure on already over-stretched public services.
A woman protects her worldly possessions at a disembarkment area in Bentiu in Unity State shortly before the referendum. Photograph: Tom Purekal/CRS
A boy cares for this younger brother at Juba Port, where they sleep on makeshift beds. We’ve supported our church partners in providing people arriving in the south with emergency household kits Photograph: Sara A. Fajardo/CRS
This is a time of hope for Southern Sudan. But critical issues are yet to be resolved with the north, including citizenship, border demarcation and the sharing of natural resources. The contested region of Abyei where 40 people died in January has yet to vote on whether to belong to the north or south. Photograph: Karen Kasmasuki/CRS
Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro of Juba casts his vote in the referendum. He said: “I am very grateful to God for the presence of CAFOD in Southern Sudan. I encourage you to continue to support us. We are in a very great need now.” Photograph: Sara A. Fajardo/CRS
Pray and speak out for peace cafod.org.uk/sudanpeace