It’s our pleasure to introduce to you ‘Real Woman’ Magazine: a national women magazine in terms of content and orientation. Published by Destiny Media, a company registered and based in Juba, the Real Women Magazine is distributed in all
It’s our pleasure to introduce to you ‘Real Woman’ Magazine: a national women magazine in terms of content and orientation. Published by Destiny Media, a company registered and based in Juba, the Real Women Magazine is distributed in all
By Parach Mach, Juba
In 2011 when she emerged as first Miss South Sudan to win Miss World Africa in 62 years of Miss World History and won in a coveted Miss World Africa prize, also known as the “African Continental Queen of Beauty”, Atong de Mach is back on the scene. She
managed to create history by representing South
Sudan for the first time after the country shortly achieved independent in 2011. She is now a public relation officer with Japan International cooperation Agency (JICA), as well as model.
However, at first in 2011, not many people gave her a fair chance. Indeed, the residents of Juba kept
asking too many questions: “Who is she? Where is she coming from? What will she do after many have been crowned yet nothing tangible?” These were some of the questions that greeted her emergence as Miss World South Sudan.
As event would later show, her choice was not
misplaced and indeed Atong DeMach had actualized many things, some of them were quiet ordinary but the fact that people had lived with their impossibility for decades meant that they were not ordinary.
Recently Atong DeMach took to Juba’s Streets with Japanese contingent forces leading the cleaning up campaign at Juba-Nabari road, a road, which was constructed through the grant donation of Japanese government and implemented by JICA
Atong said cleaning of environment could lure people senses into awareness. “Some among us may be
influenced to heed reason, to find a way to right
attitude toward environment,” she said.
According to DeMach if Juba residents fail to keep the city clean, the waste level will grow exponentially in the city over the next few years. Even if South
Sudanese invest heavily in waste management, it will be very difficult for the nation to maintain and keep pace with deteriorating condition. Therefore, citizens need innovative approaches for waste management options.
“It is very challenging in South Sudan, but some of the best and clean cities I had travelled look very nice and I always felt Juba should be in the same way, as somebody in the forefront of change; my contribution would be to educate people on the benefits of clean environment and its health hazards when left unchecked,” she stressed
De Mach said South Sudanese need to act now and seize this opportunity to seal a deal that is fair, that is ambitious and that is binding before it is too late,
saying people have the power to turn this around.
She further stressed that the duty of every citizens is to engage in state building in whatever ways by
enhancing collaboration, promote coordination and create partnerships, so that the county can secure clean environment for the present and future generations.
As a country, there is need to create the right
incentives to attract private investment into areas such as sanitations and waste management, waste recycling and water storage and conservation solutions. We do appreciate that if we were to fail and the waste in our city continues to grow faster than our maintenance, it is our environment, our society and our economy that will suffer. Proactive action is desirable and we have to take that action as stakeholders.
With the large number of supporters and well-wishers that followed as she made her way to the stardom in 2011, it is an evident that Atong DeMach, no doubt, would set a new beginning in the face of Juba city through hygiene.
Hon. Susan Wasuk Sokiri is equally the chairperson for Women Parliamentary Caucus, an office entrusted to deal with women affairs in the National Parliament. The office is working up efforts to create more empow- erment projects aiming at elevating burden of women hardship in the country.
“Initially we did not have a big budget from the nation budget but this year, the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the administration of the parliament allocated for us small funds to run our day to day activities in the parliament here”. She added that women parliamentary Caucus would make sure that women benefited from Community Development Funds’ projects (CDF) Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Real Woman Magazine, a couple of weeks ago, she said the women parliamentary caucus has written some project proposals to its partners requesting several women training centers to be established and one of its partner has so far responded positively and it had already gave them one resource center that will be used to train women on various skills.
However, in order to shed more light on what they are doing for women while in women leadership, the Real Woman Magazine caught up in an interview with Hon. Susan Wasuk, a women who labored so much advocating for years to see to it that women are empowered and their Rights are respected.
Welcome to the interview Hon. and thanks so much for taking your time to speak to us and we would like you to share your reflections as a woman in leadership.
I started my primary School in Northern Sudan from 1972- 1977 and completed my junior school in 1973 and upon completion of my junior school, l moved to the then Southern Sudan where I joined Juba girl for my secondary school from 1980 to 1983.
Some years later, I left for Itang in Ethiopia with my husband in 1984 and I quickly joined the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM/A) in 1985 and since then I had been serving women in difference capacities through women Association.
In 1991 after the fall of Mengistu Mariam, I got chance to go to Nairobi with my children. While in Nairobi, I managed to resume my studies and I started first with English course offered by British Council and I later on went to the college after I had struggled to put my children to school. With the support of women association founded by Paulino Riak, I went to the college and did community development studies and community health for three years. And after graduation I returned to South Sudan in 2000 and started working with one of the organization in Rumbek—that is when I started working with the women.
I worked in Rumbek from 2000 to 2004 then I was taken to Maban and I worked there until the Com- prehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. After the CPA I got a job with Pact Sudan program and I was taken to Wau and em- ployed as community development officer in charge
of Warrap and Wau. While in Wau I had also worked with women. In 2010 when people were preparing
for general elections, I was approached by the women in our area and they said that me and the rest of the women including the current governor of Warrap State that you women must go to the parliament so that
you continued supporting us like what you have been doing during the war so I accepted the offer, I went and contested for the election and I managed to came
to the National Assembly as an MP starting from 2010 until I was made a chairperson of women parliamentary caucus in 2013 .
Is it because you did not prepare to become a politi- cian or you just accepted because women encourage you to do so?
Yes, I did not like to go to politics but I accepted simply because I did not wanted to let down the women.
So what are you doing now generally as a payback to women?
You know, pay them back cannot be seen directly but we are trying to offer trainings; we are training them to create awareness in areas where women should know their rights, we are also trying to make them participate in business, we are trying to train them business skills and on top of these, whatever we are doing here in the parliament we must make sure that women benefited, this project of CDF, we will make sure that women benefit from community development funds (CDFS) as soon the funds is released. During the elections campaign in 2010 I moved around all the villages and I have seen that women are really suffering.
And because of that, I came and wrote the proposal and it was successful, I provided 20 boreholes but I will do more of these when we are given the funds. These are some of the things we need to do to ensure that the hardships that women are facing in this country are uplift.
It is not easy especially when you left your home area, your parent and you went to the bush and bringing up the children without a father because when I left I did not know exactly where we are going, when we reached Itang I remembered when a Battalion known as Mor- Mor was sent to the frontline, the day they left Itang for frontline, we women were left alone with children, there were only few men at the center. So when we went to the river to fetch water in the morning the following day, we were thinking that there was something big that is going to happen. You see we came with our men from Sudan and they just left us suddenly but we managed to came together as women through creating program to keep us busy, for instance women association so that we managed to make ourselves busy so that we forget the hardship not also thinking about your father, mother, brothers and sisters that you have left behind. So it was a hard experience.
Do you have some projects that you are working on now for women?
As the women parliamentary caucus, initially in the caucus we do not have very big budget from the national budget but the good news is that we have a provision in constitution that allow us to work with National and international organizations, civil society, other women groups and we have already made two proposals requesting assistance from our partners. For example, the UN Women provided us with three offices and one resource center. Again, we have two embassies to equip these centers with more computers, Internet and books for training the women
Do you think the center will be accessible to all women?
Our constitution said, the women parliamentary caucus will be working within the ten states of South Sudan, we are working with state Assembly, it means that whatever, we are taking to the state Assembly it has to reach the women at the grass root.
What are the challenges facing you?
One of the challenges is lack of funds, we do not have money because sometimes we can have programs that we want to do but due to lack of money, it always
limited our work. The other challenge is the
insecurity because as we speak you cannot move freely in the other states.
Is there any instances in which men look you down?
Looking down by man is something obvious “it is just there,” it is us not to give them chance by saying let us sit down because man do not want us, man normally do not like to see women upgrading, it is our role as women to fight for our rights. However, thanks to late Dr. John Garang, he told us one day that women 25% did not came from nothing, it came from somewhere and he further warned us not sit back and said man will give our share instead he advised us to fight for our rights “Our contribution as women in the
liberation struggle that started from 1983 to 205 is what gave us this 25%”. It can be taken away if you are not careful despites the fact it is stipulated in the
constitution. If we cannot talk, ask and claim, it can just be taken. It is our role as women leaders to work hard and see to it that women are awoken up, we need to make awareness for the young women who are behind us so that they can grow knowing what is
How do you see yourself in the next five years
comparing with the years back?
Basically, it is better now if I can compare where I came from and with where I am now. However, in five years to come I want to see myself above and above and even in the top than where I am now. If I really sit down sometimes and compared where I came from up to this moment, I can see great difference.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies among others are cooking, reading and making friends
Perhaps a word of advice to young South Sudanese women
It’s not common in African cultures for children to teach their parents and they accept it but the 15-year old Achola Beatrice, a primary School pupil, has done the unthinkable.
She introduced Re-Usable Menstrual Pad (RUMPS) production to improve general hygiene of girls and mothers in Lobure village at the outskirts of Magwi town in Eastern Equatoria state.
Achola, who learnt the skills of RUMPS production from health clubs at Magwi central primary focused on improving the hygiene of the women and girls in her village.
“I do this to maintain our personal hygiene and also to keep the skills. And then, we also need to improve our village”
“I called my two friends Tugulu and Flora Ajango and started to teach them on how to make the re-usable pads” Achola narrates the beginning of her initiative to transform the village.
“I told my mother we delayed for training on production of re-usable pads, and she then told me to bring the RUMPS material we use at school to teach her and that I should tell our trainers to visit home as well,” Achola says.
Ms. Achola’s mother, a widow, inspired by her daughter share such good initiative with other women in the village as well so that they maintain their hygiene since all have little incomes.
“My mother then told me that since most women in the village have little income, we could share the initiative of re-usable menstrual pads for them to keep their hygiene” Achola said.
As Achola’s mother implored her daughter to teach as many women and girls in the village as possible, Achola also tasked her to do the mobilization.
“I told my mother to mobilize her peers as I do to the young girl and the women were willing to acquire the skills of RUMPS production,” says the initiator of village RUMPs group.
Achola included 16-year-old Obina Sovan, who is also a member of the school health club to her team with the aim to sensitize boys and men on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).
“We don’t only look at RUMPs and general hygiene alone but also breaking the silence on menstruation and to eradicate teasing of girls by boys and that’s why we needed Obina” she says.
“My role is to sensitize boys to stop laughing at girls when in their monthly periods and fathers should offer help to their daughter who may need it during menstruation,” Obina says.
Achola’s RUMPs students in Lobure village, who admired her initiative, are not only housewives alone but also civil servants and University students.
Armed with a note book and a pen at hand, another lady who show keen interest in Achola’s RUMPs production lessons is Amal Jackline, a 2nd year student of Bugema University in Uganda
“Achola has taught us that the RUMPs comprises of three elements; the liner with 16 x11 cm, the Wing pad measures 11 x 8 cm and the Straight pad measuring 11x 6 cm” Amal explained.
“At the beginning of menstruation when the blood flow is high, one fixed the wing pad in the liner, attached to the pant with a button and wears it and when the blood reduce you fix straight pad to use,” Amal demonstrates to visitors what she has learnt from her young teacher.
Ms. Amal describes the young girl as creative initiator with a heart for a village she claims it has been abandoned and left out in much government development projects due to its distance from the town centre.
Members of the women group named “Reber Aye Teko” in Acholi language with its motto “Let it happen”, plans to improve their work to income generating activity. They are lobbying from well wishers to aid them with sewing machine and offer further training on tailoring to enable them upgrade the skills offered by Achola on MHM.
SNV-Netherland development Organisation contracted Hope for children and Women Foundation to implement project after a study indicated high girls’ dropout rate due to poor menstrual hygiene management.
Ms. Atim Veronica, a trainer with Hope for Children and Women Foundation, explains that Re-Usable Menstrual Pads are made out of special cotton cloth material or fleece materials.
She said some of the materials are available in the market and customers could be linked to suppliers for fleece materials, which is not common.
“The advantage of the RUMPs is that one can use and then wash it to be used again another day after drying it in hygienic environment,” Atim commented the re-usable menstrual pads.
It was upon the economic viability of the re-usable menstrual pads that the project anticipated it would improve school attendance and general hygiene of girls in poor rural areas.
Impressed with Achola’s initiative, the director for Hope for Children and Women Foundation, Mr. David Makumbi, did not expect mothers would embrace the project.
Achola’s initiative captivates SNV’s Eastern Equatoria state Menstrual Hygiene Management project officer, Ms. Pasquina Acidria who led a communication specialist of the organisation to Lobure village.
“I would like to express my gratitude to your daughter Achola Beatrice who has proved to be a real agent of change in this community. We never expected any pupil would think of transforming mothers,” she
Ms. Acidria testifies that the community event was out of scope of the SNV project but Achola’s creativity had impressed and pulled the organizations’ officials to the village.
“This project was mainly focusing on schools that’s why we never engaged the communities in the rural areas but Achola has made us drive to her village to witness the wonders she has done to her people by sharing the knowledge on RUMPs production” she stressed.
“I must say that this is an impact we never expected. I congratulate Achola for transferring the knowledge from school to transform the women in this village,” Acidria remarked.
“In my impact table, I don’t even know where to fix this but I will create a column and row to indicate it,” the Menstrual Hygiene Management project officer explained.
She says the expected impacts of the project centred on increased enrolment and retention of girls at schools, improvement in their attendance and performance in classes but never extension of the skills to the
“You can now see for yourselves how children can be powerful in education as in our homes? Most
interestingly, the skill you have acquired has been brought by your daughter, who learnt it from school” Acidria praised Achola before the mothers.
Though the SNV project didn’t target mothers at community levels, Acidria testifies that Lobure was lucky to have Achola to share the knowledge with the people in the village.
“You might have not gotten the opportunity to attend the training on Menstrual Hygiene Management directly from SNV, but at least through your daughter, you have acquired the skills” she says.
Acidria assures the group that though SNV does not provide hand-outs, the women will continuously be strengthened for their ambition to grow.
“It’s encouraging that you are thinking deep and broad to commercialise re-usable menstrual pads production. We do not provide hand-outs but we will continue to strengthen your capacity to achieve goals for the skills you have acquired,” Ms. Acidria says.
SNV’s global communications specialist, Nick Greenfield who was on photo shooting event of the projects, confesses that the organisation also implements similar project in four other countries but never had it a unique impact like in Lobure village.
Grateful for the mothers in Lobure to have opened an avenue for SNV to witness an unexpected benefit of its project, Nike suggested it’s better to share the story with the rest of the World.
He expects Achola’s story and that of Lobure village women will be inspirational to others in the Globe for them to take action towards improving menstrual Hygiene Management.
“We hope your story will inspire other women, other villages, other countries and here in South Sudan to take the initiative to do what you have done, by taking the power in your hands to create something like this,” Nike commented Achola and Lobure women group.
Nick Greenfield, who works for SNV as communication specialist, reports on Water and Sanitation as well as “Girls in control” project, which focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management for schoolgirls.
By Amer Mayen Dhieu, Brisbane, Australia
In most socio-historical headlines, we do find sensational stories of important people who have helped shaped social and cultural order of our time.
However, none of the recorded stories have deservingly showcased histories of our great women that are considered to be cultural icons such as Anei Deng de Ngoor, Apul-Magengdit, Commander Ageer Gum Akol, to mention but a few.
These extraordinary women, unlike some of our women in this generation, didn’t just show up and find a historic voice in a gender-conscious generation and time. Behind their fame and credits lurked great obstacles that were cultural, political, social or economical.
Yet, these pioneers didn’t just prevailed at all odds arrayed against them but also excelled to be the most influential women whose determinations and courage and stories can be used as a model to inspire today women to pursue their dreams.
No one has adequately recorded the amazing stories of our great women whose combined legacies are a testament to the feminist spirit among our people. Their pioneering, courageous works broke through the male-imposed gender chained that had, and continue to, deny our sisters and mothers their rightful and God-given roles in the society.
Though our people are yet to recognise the sensational contributions of these revolutionary women, there is still hope out there that our today opinion writers, book authors and historians are gathering stories that will be remembered and debated later by future generations.
Had we this group of gender-conscious writers in the past, I believe the extraordinary story of Anei Deng de Ngoor would have long been a guiding post for young South Sudanese feminists of today.
I was six years old when I heard about Madam Anei Deng de Ngoor from Twic East, Nyuak Payam, Ayual clan, Roordior section of Paan- Kueer. I can only remember her coming to my house to pay visit to my dad. Someday it could be a mere visit and someday it can be to discuss some administrative cases at a time when my dad was Nyuak’s chief.
Very often, Madam Anei visited our house but never sat near my mom.
She always proceeded to dad’s room and would discuss, and discuss, till noontime with some other local chiefs from Twic East.
One afternoon I ask my mom: “Who is that woman and why does she always sit where men are?”
Mom said her name is Anei Deng de Ngoor, a representative of certain section in Ayual. “She is not a woman, she is a man,” mom whispered.
I was lost for word. I didn’t completely understand what the heck she meant. Physically Madam Anei was a woman, she was wearing skirt and blouse, sometimes a dress. I stared into mom’s eyes looking for more information.
After few minutes of deafening silence, mom started again and said, “menthdi (my child), it is rumoured that Madam Anei didn’t have any brother in her family and for her father’s name to reign she decided not to get marry off but to marry a wife for herself instead.”
It was, however, today that I learnt that Madam Anei have brothers. She was married but for some reason her marriage didn’t work (or didn’t manage to have children) and therefore she had to come back to her family and started a brand new life with new thinking full of determination that ultimately helped her have wives and children of her own.
When Madam Anei returned to her parents, she decided to enter into business to earn some money and livestock so she can marry her own wives and have children of her own. She was also given a privileged place by her brothers to be one of them. That is, she was entitled to be given a cow from any of her sister or nieces’ marriage.
In business, Madam Anei succeeded remarkably and became one of the richest icons in her clan.
Right now she got five wives with a great number of children that called her daddy. Madam Anei’s brothers are the biological fathers, called them the sperm donors, but Madam Anei herself is the real father. She carries out all the fatherly responsibilities.
Madam Anei gave up her romance and sexual needs. She got no husband but wives that she barely kiss, hug or touch, yet she remains faithful to them and maintains her role as a father and husband to her wives and kids.
Madam Anei’s decision to have wives was not inspired by western culture of gay rights or lesbianism since at a time the Dinka people didn’t even know what that concept was. It was engendered by a pure selfless love and honour to her father’s name and herself. Without such sacrifices, Madam Anei’s name would have been extinct by now in her family lineage.
Rather than thinking too much about the biological side of the story, we should all be humbled and inspired by her selfless love to her father.
Nonetheless, the most important case in point is that, Madam Anei’s story, like other untold stories of women of her kind, is the first standout story among other extraordinary stories that would surely serve as inspiration for generation of women to come.
It does not only educate us about how to fix a broken glass but also how to look for other potentials when the old glass is completely broken.
Do we still think that our women are not great? Do we still think that they have not contributed and sacrificed so much in family and clan, and at the state and national levels? If you think that they are great, and have contributed their fair share in building our society, then give them their rights.
Because Madam Anei’s choice of life was duly supported and appreciated by the male members of her clan, she performed outstandingly well. Our women need that support and recognition to be vital members of our communities.
By: Cholxok Maliet
Women are blessed with different talents and skills. What matters is how we use them. We become better in life when we use our talents smartly. One such person who has utilized her talents and skills smartly is 35-year-old Aliya Yahia Suliman; a professional teacher and baker.
Aliya is married with one child. She has been a teacher for eight years and a baker for five years. Aliya who lives in Konyokonyo, has made the best of her talents.
It was after experiencing delays in her teaching salary that Aliya decided to make the best of her baking skills. She makes cakes, cookies and biscuits.
“I realised that the government money is not enough and it also delays. Yet for one to buy the things she needs in life; she must be independent by having her own business.”
“I realized that coming back home in the evening after teaching was not helping, that is why I started making cakes at home,” she says.
Initially, Aliya sold cakes outside her house, but her business has grown and she now supplies some retailers and makes special cakes for weddings.
“I make good money, not just monthly but daily. I now bake cakes and take them to the shops. Sometimes I can make up to SSP2000, when I get an order for a wedding cake.”
Much as she makes quite good money, Aliya has not started banking because of the competing needs that take up all her profits.
“The money doesn’t reach the bank because I have my siblings in universities and I am helping them in paying their fees,” she explains.
Nonetheless, the cake business has changed her life a lot, especially by making her financially independent.
“I have got the money I need in my house and I can buy anything anytime. I don’t wait for my husband to bring me money. It has also helped me to help others who are in need,” she says.
Aliya has mastered how to balance her teaching job, baking business and family chores. “I come home from work at 1:30 pm; make my lunch and start baking my cakes. I always buy my cake-making ingredients early, and then I work on them in the evening.”
Being organized has helped her to minimize challenges in her work. “When you are organized and you know how to share your time, life becomes easy and that’s what I am doing. I have divided my time well.”
She has also managed to acquire some modern cake and biscuit making machines.
“I saw that technology on television and I asked myself, “Aliya can you try it?” And I got myself doing it.”
Aliya hopes to improve on her savings so that she can expand her business.
“In the next five years, I see myself as a big businesswoman, with my own cake shop,” she says confidently.
Aliya offers some advice to other women, especially those who are jobless. “My advice to them is that they should try to do business. Business will help you to pay your children’s school fees, help your husband with some family needs and keep you busy not to have bad thoughts.”
One evening, as we were coming from work, my husband and I decided to pass by a neighboring shop to buy stuff for home. The shop had a female shop attendant.
“Why is the shop attendant being so polite with u?” I asked.
“Have you hit on her before that you cannot say anything to her right now because am with you? I asked again.
The next incident happened the day we decided to have lunch at Home and Away. “You just smiled at the waitress! Yes I caught you doing that right now, “I am sure you have fallen for her and you will keep on coming back here for her,” I yelled at my man.
He politely says he is not hitting on the waitress but only smiled back at her after she smiled at him.
The other one is whenever I call him and he does not pick up on the first three rings, I just hold my fingers stiff and bite my lips while thinking to myself; “Could it be another cute lady that is stopping him from answering my phone calls? They could probably be involved in a much deeper conversation”.
I can mention but I can’t finish all the times I acted jealous when am with my man. I do love my man and I know that he loves me too, but our love life has been going this way and I think it is time I changed and started a new life with him without jealousy at all.
real or imagined. Women with such behavior may end up encouraging their men to turn to another woman for solace.
One psychologist writes that you have more power in your Love, Respect, Personality and Magnetism than you do in controlling your man. I have come to say it works perfectly for me since I started putting it in practice.
A woman cannot make a man come home but a woman can make a man want to come back home as soon as he is through with work.
Consequences of jealousy
How to control your jealousy
By Vincent Buruga, Torit, Eastern Equatoria state
Despite her hearing impairment, Ms. Caroline Atim maintains focus in articulate and charming manner to canvass support for rights of Women with Disabilities in South Sudan.
“It’s important the government gives 5 percent affirmative action to women with disabilities who are always cheated by their able bodied counterparts,” demands Ms. Caroline Atim.
As a member of South Sudan Women with Disabilities Network, Ms. Atim observes that the five percent affirmative action would create gender equity among women in the country.
“All along, the government had given women 25 percent Affirmative Action but it only benefits the able bodied who have typical negative attitudes towards the disabled ones, Ms. Atim adds.
Speaking with the assistance of her interpreter Mr. Victor Oyoo, Ms. Atim, who hails from Magwi county of Eastern Equatoria, articulately convinced participants at constitutional review workshop in Torit.
“Governments have to build the capacity of women with disabilities and if they are illiterate, they shall still try,” Ms. Atim persuades.
“We cannot wait representation by able bodied women except that they shall have to build the capacity of women with disabilities at all levels, she said.
She calls for quality education for people with disabilities, saying the deaf can learn sign language and those with visual impairment use brails as elements of global inclusiveness.
“We need quality education and if deaf people can learn through sign language and if interpreters are there, they can be elements of global world of inclusive education,” she said.
“If women with disabilities were empowered, they get courage to acquire enough knowledge and skills by taking courses in various disciplines and vocations.”
A Deaf at the Forefront of Advocacy for the Rights of Women with Disabilities Ms. Caroline Atim Spearheads Advocacy for the Rights of Women with Disabilities at the South Sudanese Constitutional Review Workshop in Torit, Eastern Equatoria State
Ms. Atim observes that their demand for affirmative action is sometimes perceived for politi17
cal participation only, saying it limits the broader aspects of inclusiveness.
“Talking about representation, people only think of politics, yet women with disabilities can do many other things but the first thing is empowerment for self-reliance,” she says.
She notes that given the 5 percent affirmative action, it becomes very simple for women with disabilities to carry out mobilization and raise awareness, if they are well represented at all level.
The activist calls for deliberate efforts to build the capacity of illiterate women, refuting ideas that women with disabilities can only have political representation at national arena.
“It’s only the political scenario at national level that is disturbing most of the people but women with disabilities can have representation at all levels, even the 5 % is little,” Ms. Atim stressed.
Ms. Atim, who declines having personal desires of joining politics, says her interest is to mobilize and build the capacity of women with disabilities across the country.
“I’m not interested in politics but time will come for me to stand. I need to mobilize and work on capacity building to ensure that capacities of women are well built up,” she said.
“These representatives should be appointed in consultation with people with disabilities,” she stressed.
The women with disabilities seek constitutional insertion clauses to protect them from negative cultural practices and discrimination.
“Negative cultural practices and attitudes that discriminate against PWDs and Women with Disabilities should be eradicated through an article making them null and void,” Ms. Atim said.
“A disability Act should be established which includes within it a provision to ensure anyone found discriminating against PWDs must be punished by law,” she added.
Ms. Atim said Women with Disabilities also recommend for constitutional provision for protection on marriage and exact marriageable age of 18 years or above.
“Women and Women with Disabilities (WWDs) should be protected from forced marriage and sexual violence,” she advocates.
She said additional provisions should be added to the family law that protects WWDs from GBV and guarantees childcare support from the father.
The WWD need Article 16 (5) to specify that the rights to “inherit” for women inclusive of “women with disabilities”.
The Permanent Constitution should refer to persons with disabilities as persons with disabilities (PWDs) instead of Persons with Special Needs in line with the UN convention.
An article must be created to deal specifically with persons with disabilities the elderly should be included separately, Ms. Atim explained.
She said there should be a phrase that emphasizes the right to access public utilities, facilities and institutions, and equal rights to education and employment.
Swayed by Ms. Atim’s charming talks, MP. Angela Achiro, like other participants, agrees 5 per cent affirmative action towards women with disabilities is a great opportunity to help our disadvantaged daughters.
“Women with disabilities do not come from heavens or somewhere else but are our daughters. We can’t object to such brilliant ideas for the future of our children,” remarks MP. Achiro.
Team leader of South Sudan Law Society, Farouk Ismail Ukach says that the feedback collected from the citizens would be forwards to the Constitution Review Commission for analysis.
By Amer Mayen Dhieu, Brisbane, Australia
There is a saying that when you educate a man, you just educate a man; but when you educate a woman; you educate a family, a generation, a race or a whole nation.
South Sudanese young women in Australia are taking up the challenge of proving the adage that a nation that educates its ladies has educated the entire country. Abul Manyuon Mayen is one of those rising stars in Australia.
Starting her primary school in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, Abul was awarded a scholarship by Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), providing proper education to refugee children living in the camps. She was sponsored to study in Turkana Girls’ Secondary school, one of the best schools in Turkana district in Northern Kenya.
With her two brothers and elder sister, Abul moved to Australia where she continued to pursue her dream of going to the university. On arrival, she was asked to start from Year 10 (form one in Kenya). She completed her high school after two years and immediately applied for her university degree. Three years later, Abul was awarded her bachelor of Medical Science, majoring in Biomedical Science.
She continued to pursue her further studies and, two years later, achieved Master of Pharmacy. Abul is now working as a pharmacist with one of the leading pharmacies in Australia.
When asked what prompted her to choose medical science, Abul said it was because she is very passionate about helping the community.
“When I was applying for my degree, I had to ask myself first what do I need to change in the community? What exactly demand my attention most? These questions guide me to choose which degree I needed to do. I learnt that South Sudan is in high need of medical attention and would be good if I do something related to that,” she explained her choice.
In the year 2012, Abul made a short trip back to South Sudan to visit her grandmother and relatives, a trip that gave her another perspectives. When Abul visited her grandmother in the village, she was shocked to learn that girls of her age where mothers of three to four kids.
I was totally disappointed in a sense that these girls have inherited the situation our mothers used to be in. No education, no nothing. They have little knowledge of what the world outside mean to them, rather being only mothers and wives,” she stressed.
Currently, Abul is looking forward to help in improving girls’ education in South Sudan, something she is extremely passionate about.
“Right now I have finished my masters, but there are few things that I have to do. One of them is to start a campaign to create awareness about the importance of girls’ education. I believe that if we invest in girls’ education our country is likely to be developed in short period of time.”