Peacekeepers celebrate the arrival of 2018 by donating gifts to orphanage near Torit.
Children at the Hope for South Sudan Orphanage in Motti near Torit rang in 2018 with a festive visit by staff from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, who brought a variety of presents to the children.
UN police, military liaison officers, Nepalese soldiers and the Head of Field Office distributed the assorted gifts, ranging from soft toys and biscuits to footballs and clothes.
The director of the orphanage, Peter Lomago Kano, was grateful to the visitors.
“The children are very excited, and of course we continue to appreciate partners like UNMISS. When they come here they make the children happy,” he said.
One of the girls at the orphanage, 15-year-old Atoka Janet, welcomed the gifts and asked for a safe learning environment at the orphanage.
“I thank UNMISS for giving us a lot of things. I wish for better education and the growth of peace in our country,” Atoka said.
Mary Cummins, Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Torit, highlighted the mission’s mandate to protect civilians, particularly children.
“The mission’s main priority is to ensure the protection of civilians and to build a durable peace in South Sudan. This visit is part of that mission given the particular location of the orphanage, which in the past has seen military operations nearby. We at UNMISS are happy that there is now a cessation of hostilities agreement which will allow everyone, including the children in the orphanage, to live without fear“, Cummins explained.
Regular UNMISS patrols to the orphanage began in July 2017, following mounting tensions between government and opposition forces in the area. The resulting military operations caused significant disturbances to the children. Continued UN presence in the area has mitigated the outbreak of the conflict, and by means of further increasing the number of patrols the peacekeeping mission hopes to fulfill its mandate of protecting civilians.