Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Noureldin Abdelwahid, 12, lives with his parents and 11 siblings at a gathering site for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ed Damazine, the capital of Blue Nile State, in south-east Sudan. Noureldin contracted polio when he was younger, which affected his life profoundly. 

His father, Elnour, explained: “We didn’t know much about his condition, and we were also struggling economically, so we did not pay much attention to it. Unfortunately, as a result, Noureldin is living with a physical disability.” 

Noureldin cannot walk and can use only one arm. “When I was younger, my mother used to help me. She would bring me to the bathroom, and shower and carry me around,” he said. “But now that I’m grown up she is not able to do that anymore.”

Like many vulnerable IDPs across Sudan, Elnour struggles to provide for his family and meet their basic needs. He is a daily-wage earner, which made it nearly impossible for him to buy a wheelchair for Noureldin, especially after the war erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in the capital, Khartoum, in April 2023. 

“I would hardly leave the house,” said Noureldin. “It was too difficult to crawl on the rocky and muddy ground, and I would prefer to stay at home. One day I fell and hurt my ear and the left side of my face,” he added, showing the scar on his face and head. 

Fortunately, Noureldin’s life changed when his family began receiving support through an intervention funded by the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF). It started with a visit from a member of the local Community-Based Child Protection Network, trained by Save the Children. 

Elnour explained: “The Sheikh [traditional leader] who is heading the network came to our house and asked about Noureldin’s case.”

Following the visit, the family received food and non-food supplies, and Noureldin received a wheelchair, transforming his life and mobility. 

“It changed everything for me and my family. Now I can finally go outside and enjoy time with my friends,” he said, adding that he goes to the child-friendly space supported by Save the Children nearby and plays with his peers.

“I come here with my brothers, and we play with other children. It’s great!” Noureldin said. 

While he and his brothers are busy playing with friends, their parents have more time to go to the market and work. “My father can now buy dates, flour and oil for us,” he added.

The project, funded by SHF and implemented by Save the Children, aims to support about 30,500 people, including children and adults living with disabilities, with protection interventions, clean water, sanitation and hygiene in Blue Nile State. It’s part of a larger emergency response project, which also provides health and nutrition services to people in need. 

This project is jointly implemented by Save the Children, Child Development Fund and Alsalam Organization for Rehabilitation and Development.

Through the project, Elnour can now contribute to community events, such as marriages and funerals, which are important activities for the family’s status. 

Noureldin’s mother, Halima, said: “Our lives have improved a lot with this additional support, but most importantly I am so glad to see Noureldin enjoy his time now with his friends. He also learned to write in the place [child-friendly space], which will allow him hopefully to return to his studies soon.”

Meanwhile, Elnour hopes that his family will not be displaced again: “Millions of people are currently fleeing from conflict in Khartoum, Darfur and other states. Until now, our area has been relatively safe. We pray every day that it remains calm and that the rest of Sudan can return to peace.”

Almost 10 months after the war began, Sudan is facing one of the world’s fastest growing crises, with unprecedented needs in such a short period. About 25 million people – more than 14 million of whom are children – need humanitarian assistance and support. More than 7.6 million people – about 15 per cent of Sudan’s population – have fled their homes since 15 April. According to new data from the International Organization for Migration, Sudan is now the world’s largest displacement crisis, with more than 9 million IDPs, including people displaced before April 2023.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

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