Shoeshine Boys of Rumbek - Video

Monday November 2, 2015

Shoeshine Boys of Rumbek

The history of conflict tells us that its greatest victims are often the most innocent among us, those who're not even fully aware of what's going on around them. In the Lakes city of Rumbek, HDC Executive Director Deng He Yuott encountered this pair of boys. They weren't playing or being naughty like boys their age might be. They weren't in class reciting their times tables. They were working hard polishing leather shoes for money.

Deng was responding to a newspaper story he'd seen in the Sudan Tribune about street children in Rumbek, in particular about a boy who'd been cut off from his family as they were displaced by conflict in the Rumbek region. Faced with extreme hunger, the boy in the newspaper story had sought to fend for himself in the relative safety and prosperity of this small town.

Ordinarily, one ought to be pleased with such steely determination, such resolve in the face of great odds. Here however it also represented an image of the depth of deprivation and disconnection that conflict had brought across South Sudan. It demonstrated the fraying of South Sudan's traditions of care, and the reliability of family bonds in the face of extreme disruption of families through loss of life and displacement. The adults who might have been relied on to take care of these boys, were either not alive, not present or completely unable to do so.

By the time Deng made it to Rumbek, the boy in the story had been taken in by a distant relative, alerted to his disconnection by public discussions of the shoe shine boy of Rumbek. Sadly, as you can see from Deng's video above, there remain others not as fortunate.

2.2 m
persons displaced across South Sudan since December 2013
HDC works in camps to provide food, shelter, livelihoods and protection services
The mission of HDC is to support vulnerable people affected by crises to attain dignified and prosperous lives through impactful community resilience and practical, innovative programs.
HDC is honoured to partner with
DanChurch Aid, CARE South Sudan, CARE Netherlands, Government of The Netherlands
HDC has been an
active national NGO in East Africa for ten-years
– a clear track record of strong commitment to the communities we serve.
Last year HDC
worked with over 30,000 people in need across South Sudan.
is honoured to partner with many organizations,
According to UNICEF, 72%
of children in South Sudan did not have access to school last year.
A girl in South Sudan
is 2X less likely to have access to education than a boy.
Today in South Sudan
less than 1% of girls will complete their education.
of people in South Sudan have access to sanitation facilities
HDC constructs sanitary facilities and conducts advocacy interventions that endorse better hygiene practices
2 million
South Sudanese refugees (UNHCR)
5.1 million people
are facing severe food insecurity today (IPC)
2.4 m
face severe food insecurity due to displacement and adverse climate
HDC supports improved resilience and productivity by distributing seeds, inputs and implements
1.9 million people
are displaced in South Sudan (OCHA)