Transform a Village in South Sudan

by World Concern
World Concern community bank - South Sudan
World Concern community bank - South Sudan

You’ve probably heard about the crisis in South Sudan. It started in December with an attempt by rebels to overthrow the country’s fledgling new government. The result has been utter chaos. Widespread violence and fighting have affected nearly every region of the country, including the areas where we’re working, and hundreds of thousands of families fled their homes in search of safety.

“It’s so sad. People are really traumatized … They won’t go outside, because they are too scared to get shot anyways. What can they hope for?” said Samuel, who is among the displaced in South Sudan.

This is just one of the many challenges faced by the people of this struggling nation.

Before the conflict broke out, severe flooding impacted our ability to access Lietnhom, cutting off families from outside help for months. It’s been a challenging six months here, but there are signs of progress, and I wanted to share those with you, so you know your support has made a difference.

Since our last report, families in Lietnhom made great progress in their farming techniques, growing more plentiful crops, and raising much healthier livestock. This has improved incomes, and brought more members to village savings groups. Lietnhom’s community bank, founded and run by village residents, grew from 300 to 963 members.

Another exciting update is that parents in Lietnhom began special savings accounts specifically for educating their children. The accounts are called “akuny miith,” which means “school children account.” These families understand the value of education, and want to see their children succeed. With your help, hundreds of children attended school this fall in Lietnhom.

More than 60 blacksmiths and tinsmiths were trained and graduated from our vocational training program. And 70 additional youth learned job skills like motorcycle repair and masonry.

A group of women were empowered to support their families with groundnut machines and training –essentially making and selling homemade peanut butter for income. This kind of transformation is new, and it will last in a community where families previously had little hope for the future.

New businesses are opening up as the village economy improves, and this village is truly being transformed. Thank you for being a huge part of this transformation!

Using a groundnut machine in South Sudan.
Using a groundnut machine in South Sudan.
You're helping business owners earn better income.

In the middle of Lietnhom’s busy market, under a thatched roof, surrounded by sturdy wood walls, Deng provides a critical service to the community. He dispenses medicine from his pharmacy, which he’s built into a successful business, thanks to the support of One Village Transformed donors like you.

Helping people earn sustainable income—equipping people like Deng to feed and support their families—is one of the primary ways this village is being transformed.

“My business has enabled me to take care of my three children and give them a decent life, including paying for the education of my first born son who is in primary (grade) one,” said Deng.

Without this income, his children would be destined to repeat the cycle of poverty Deng grew up in. By being able to attend school and obtain an education, these young ones have a chance at a much better future.

Deng started his shop in the market with a small loan from World Concern. He also received business training, which has led to a well-established, profitable business.

“The investment education, which accompanies every loan, has made me diversify my merchandise. I started with clothes, but now I have expanded to all household goods, as well as having my own pharmacy,” said Deng with pride. By applying the principles he’s learned, he has become a leader in the community.

“Because of the progress in my business, I have been appointed the chairman of the traders’ group. They jokingly say of me, ‘follow the leader!’ My happiest moments are not only when I get a loan, but also when I repay it, as it gives another person an opportunity to benefit.”

Your donations are helping transform lives in lasting ways—lives like Deng’s. This transformation is changing the future for the next generation—his children, and many others in the village of Lietnhom.

Thank you for making such a difference!

Your donations help fund business loans & training
Your donations help fund business loans & training
Lietnhom's market is a bustling hub of activity.
Kids in Lietnhom are in school because of you.
Kids in Lietnhom are in school because of you.
Mary, with her youngest of 8 children.
Mary, with her youngest of 8 children.

Amid the chaos of the war, the Sudanese ability to successfully farm year round was tragically lost.

Hiding in the bush, fleeing outside of the country, and living in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps, the war left the people of South Sudan no opportunity to practice long-term cultivation. Rather than relying on natural self-sufficiency, most were forced into a life of dependency.

One of the most important ways you’re helping transform lives in the village of Lietnhom is through training, equipping, and empowering families for dry season farming. This practice ensures hungry families have enough food during the dry season to survive. The training is initially done in groups on a shared plot of land. Apart from these organized groups, very few South Sudanese practice dry season farming.

I met Mary on a Tuesday at noon – the hottest time of day in South Sudan. Towering over my tiny frame, the 6-foot tall woman gracefully sauntered over to shake my hand, barely a bead of sweat to be found on her beautiful and intricately scarred face. Smiling all the while, Mary, a mother of eight, told me about her life as a farmer in Lietnhom.

In any South Sudanese household, farming is a shared role. Yet, many would argue that women do the large majority of the work (possibly even all of it). Given their busy daily schedule (including random visits from friends/relatives, breastfeeding/caring for an infant, religious activities, etc.), women work to complete household chores and farming as efficiently as possible.

This is especially true during the season of cultivation. Once the first few consistent rains have watered the dehydrated land, it is time to cultivate and plant every seed available (some may have been eaten in place of food during the hunger season – a last resort when all other resources have been depleted).

Despite being a fairly experienced farmer herself, she has often been unable to harvest enough crops to feed all eight of her children. As soon as Mary heard about the opportunity to learn how to farm during the dry season, she couldn’t imagine passing up the opportunity. She was one of the first to commit to joining the World Concern gardening group in Lietnhom, and is now one of the group leaders.

Mary works with other local farmers to make sure that the shared garden is watered twice a day and the crops are properly cared for. From what she has learned from World Concern, Mary now teaches those in her community about cleaning crops and making healthy manure.

The Lietnhom garden is one of the only successful dry season gardens in the surrounding area. The farmers involved have even harvested enough crops to take some home and sell those that remain in the local market. That’s sustainable transformation!

Still smiling, Mary told me, “I have learned many things from World Concern. I am very happy with you. I think my children will be very well now that I work here.”  

Thank you for being a part of this life-changing work!

Mary shows the fruit of her labor - vegetables!
Mary shows the fruit of her labor - vegetables!
William proudly displays his full bags of sorghum.
William proudly displays his full bags of sorghum.

After decades of civil war, 85% of the population of South Sudan is engaged in non-wage work, and half live on less than $1 a day. Your support means empowering people to move their lives past the daily struggle to survive and on to pursuing their dreams for a hopeful future.

William Yuot Baak is a 28-year-old father of three. The war left him with no marketable job skills. After training with World Concern staff, William worked as a cashier at one of World Concern’s local banks. This inspired him to press on and pursue a high education.  

William recently returned from completing his schooling and is now a successful farmer. World Concern has provided him with the knowledge, tools, and seeds to further his business.

To many, William is known as one of Lietnhom’s “seed multipliers.” He produced fifteen bags of sorghum during the most recent harvest.

Because of your support, William has maintained his farm without selling any of his precious livestock. In the upcoming months, he will participate in the World Concern organized seed fair, where he will sell his infamous sorghum seeds.

Thank you for partnering with us to empower dads, moms, and families in this village. Your support continues to make a difference in helping transform lives in Lietnhom.

John flashes his smile, showing his enthusiasm.
John flashes his smile, showing his enthusiasm.

The lives of many young people are being transformed because they are learning job skills and are able to support themselves and their families. With help from donors like you, World Concern operates the only vocational training program in Warrap State, South Sudan, which is home to about a million people. In South Sudan, 85% of the population is engaged in non-wage work, and half live on less than $1 a day.

I want to introduce you to John, a young dad whose life has changed dramatically because of your support in his village of Lietnhom, South Sudan, where the vocational training center is located.

John and his family have lived in Lietnhom for nine years. They witnessed, and survived, the brutal civil war that destroyed what little infrastructure that was there. Despite the hard life he’s lived, an immense smile spreads across John’s face. This and his lanky six-foot-five figure make him unmistakably memorable. But what’s most memorable about John is the great sense of dignity and excitement that he exudes.

Like many in South Sudan, John has spent the majority of his life struggling to provide an income for his family with no job skills. He has scarcely managed to feed his children. But because of the support of World Concern and donors like you, he has been given what every human being deserves—the opportunity to provide for himself and his family.

Through World Concern’s vocational training program, John was trained as a mechanic—and a fabulous one at that. He fixes motor bikes in a little shop in Lietnhom’s main market. He believes so strongly in the value of job skills that he’s training others in order that they too can find work and provide for themselves. His dream is to own his own mechanic shop someday and employ others like those he trains.

Empowerment to move past daily survival—this this is what John, and others, have been blessed with. You can see on his face the effect of such empowerment—dignity, self-sufficiency, and joy.

John shares what he
John shares what he's learned by training others.
John, hard at work in the Lietnhom market.
John, hard at work in the Lietnhom market.

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Organization Information

World Concern

Location: Seattle, WA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Cathy Herholdt
Seattle, Washington United States

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