South Sudanese Children ‘Want to Learn – Even During War,’ New Report Finds

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(August 4, 2015) — Children from states worst-affected by conflict in South Sudan have spoken out and demanded that their right to learn be respected as a top priority – even in war – according to new research from Save the Children.

'Hear It From The Children' – which lays out the priorities of 360 children, parents, and community members from Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Lakes states – reveals that as many as 28% of the children interviewed ranked education as their top priority, and urged the government and humanitarian agencies operating in South Sudan to ensure that their educational needs are prioritized in emergencies.

A quarter of parents, teachers and community members also stressed the importance of providing children with education during emergencies.

"Even if there is no food (during a crisis), we have a right to get education very soon," said one 14-year-old girl.

"Children instinctively know what is good for them, and as adults, we must respect that and allow them to dream of doing the impossible," says Peter Walsh, Save the Children's Country Director in South Sudan. "If these children are to fulfill their potential as future leaders and respected members of the community, we must do everything in our power to ensure they are given access to educational opportunities – regardless of the ongoing conflict."

'Hear It From The Children' also highlights the importance of education in conveying crucial information about health, sanitation, hygiene and how to seek shelter when fighting breaks out, helping communities better prepare themselves for the future and cope with conflict.

"It is truly humbling when children asking for education are from the most conflict-affected communities in South Sudan," says Jasmine Whitbread, CEO, Save the Children. "These children have challenged us to go back to the drawing board and come up with better ways of responding to their most critical needs in times of conflict – and Save the Children is committed to working with partners to meet this important demand."

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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