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Child development

This is the story of Akol Albino Joseph and how the Dorcas child care and development centre changed his life.

Akol is South Sudanese by nationality and Dinka by tribe. Akol’s father was serving in the army and his mother was a housewife. The boy grew up with four siblings in Mapel, a village about 30 km from Wau. When Akol was eight years old, his father was imprisoned, allegedly having killed someone. The family of the deceased was seeking out Akol’s family to avenge the death of their son. Akol’s mother, who was living with a mental illness, could no longer support Akol and his siblings.

‘Life was a nightmare’

Akol left Mapel and walked to Wau town where he lived on the streets for three years. While Akol was living on the streets he collected and sold empty bottles to survive. He was involved in petty theft cases and got addicted to glue sniffing. This made him high and helped him forget his problems. ‘Life on the street was a nightmare’, the boy said. ‘On rainy days with nowhere to sleep the bigger boys on the streets harassed me and took the money which I earned selling bottles.’ He was living a very sad life as a child with no protection.

A fortunate change

Akol then was fortunate to become one of the beneficiaries in Dorcas child care center where he got basic needs (food, education, shelter, clothing). Akol has also benefited from the child care life skills teaching, counselling and spiritual guidance which has equipped him in communication and shaped his spiritual life.

Today, Akol is enthusiastic about finishing his education. He wants to work with Dorcas and manage the child care project. He says he wants to be a role model and that he wants many other children like him to learn from his example. Akol plays a leadership role in guiding the other younger boys at the centre and he takes on responsibilities in the church where he sings in the choir, translates during church services (from Arabic to English), and plays keyboard and guitar.