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SOUTH SUDAN: Documentary focuses on people at Don Bosco Gumbo IDP camp

Film available on YouTube in 4 languages


(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Missionary Foundation Don Bosco, based in Warsaw, Poland, has made a documentary film about the struggles of people internally displaced and seeking shelter at Don Bosco Gumbo in South Sudan*. The documentary “Interrupted Meal” shares highlights of the horrors youth have faced since the country first gained its independence in 2011.

Only two years later, the country broke out in civil war that continues. Salesians began Don Bosco Gumbo in Juba in 2006. Since then, St. Vincent de Paul Parish grew to include a primary, secondary and technical school, as well as a health center. In 2013, the first camp was set up for those who were internally displaced by war. The camp had to expand again in 2016 to accommodate more who needed shelter. In one night alone, 30,000 people sought shelter there. Roughly 10,000 people remain.

“For the people who are still here, we provide them tents, food rations and education for the children. We also ensure that their health and hygiene are looked after through our health clinic,” said Father Shyjan George, treasurer of Don Bosco Gumbo. “We also try to support the people in the local community near the camp. They are suffering too and when we have more to give, we share it with them, especially around Easter and Christmas.”

Fr. George added, “While the government knows Don Bosco Gumbo is running the camp and are happy about it, they don’t provide any financial support to help us or the people here. We cannot kick them out to face the violence in their villages. Only when security comes back to the villages will people be able to go back. For now, they live in a camp that was supposed to be temporary and it’s become their safety and asylum.”

Many of the children in the camp are without their parents and other family members, having either lost them to the violence or they fled to other countries. The youth have seen the horrors of war at a young age and carry the trauma with them.

Several youth are featured in the documentary. Lucia fled with her mother and siblings when their home was bombed. She hopes to become a doctor. Archer lost his family and he was lucky he survived. During one of the attacks, a three-year-old girl ran carrying a plate because she was eating when they were attacked.

In addition to the camp, Don Bosco Gumbo provides education for more than 4,000 children and older youth in its schools. There are two kindergartens, two primary-middle schools, an accelerated elementary school, a secondary school, and vocational training center which offers courses in automotive repair, electricity, mechanics, stoneworks-masonry, solar panel technician, welding and computer studies. More than 700 older youth gain skills for later employment through this training.

The 30-minute documentary is available on YouTube in four languages: Italian, English, Spanish and Polish.

South Sudan is expansive and largely rural with 83% of the population residing in rural areas. Poverty is endemic with at least 80% of the population defined as income-poor and living on the equivalent of less than $1 per day, according to the World Bank. More than one-third of the population lacks secure access to food.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – South Sudan – “The Interrupted Meal”. A documentary by Salesian Missionary Foundation “Don Bosco” of Warsaw on stories of refugees in Gumbo

Salesian Missions – South Sudan

World Bank – South Sudan

*Any goods, services or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.