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Finding refuge

25 July 2023, Impact of Our Work

Rana's journey through conflict in Sudan 

In the midst of the unforgiving conflict in Sudan, Rana and her children Ismael,* 13, Amna,* 9, Nagi,* 7 and Sara,* 2, embody the spirit of resilience. “Being shocked, no matter what, isn't in the best interest of the child,”  Rana,* 27, tells us, reflecting on the reality faced by families like hers.   

Escaping the shadows of violence

Rana and her family were forced to flee their home when violence in Sudan suddenly escalated, leaving behind everything they held dear. Separated from her children during the clashes, Rana hurriedly made her way back home by bus and running on foot. She recounts the moment she was reunited with Ismael. 

“My son kept yelling ‘my mother went to the market.’ When he saw me, he hugged me and sobbed.” 

The family stayed at home and sheltered from the violence. 

“We thought it would stop, but it kept going all night. We thought the situation would calm down in the morning. The next morning, the fighting did not stop,”  Rana tells us.“We couldn’t even buy food for our innocent children. We could only consume what we already had at home.”

When they realised the clashes were not going to stop, they fled their home on a tuktuk. 

Hear Rana describe what it feels like to flee conflict.

Seeking refuge

Seeking safety, Rana’s family found refuge in a centre for displaced families supported by Save the Children. Despite the relief of finding safety, the journey had been immensely challenging and taken a toll on all of them. “All of my children became sick,”  Rana explains, “I became sick first.” 

Although it was evident the children were traumatised from their experience, Rana was determined not to lose hope. “They were psychologically affected. But thank god, I did not allow that state to take over them. Whenever I see them spacing out, I try to interact with them to distract them. I did not allow it to take over,”  she says. 

Thanks to our wonderful supporters, Save the Children was able to offer a lifeline, providing a safe space for children like Ismael through the Child Friendly Space within the centre.

The healing power of play

Ismael and his siblings discovered solace in the Child Friendly Space. His voice radiates with enthusiasm as he describes the many activities available, “We play basketball, volleyball, we play with blocks and we draw, and we play football.”  These recreational activities enable a sense of normalcy and help rebuild children’s resilience amid the most challenging circumstances.

Ismael,* 13, enjoys playing sports and drawing in the Save the Children-supported Child Friendly Space.

Essential support and dignity

In addition to the centre for displaced families and Child Friendly Space, Save the Children extended vital support to Ismael's family. This included the provision of clean water and a dignity kit, which includes essential hygiene supplies. Rana expresses her gratitude, acknowledging the impact of this assistance. 

“With god's will, I praise all of you, you have helped us very much. The organisation sheltered our children. They brought our children toys. They also brought us the dignity kits.”  This support not only met their basic needs, but also helped to restore a sense of dignity and normality after so much was taken from them.

Rana* with her daughter Sara,* 2 and son Nagi,* 7 at the centre for displaced families
supported by Save the Children in Sudan.

Rana's journey is just one example of the resilience and strength shown by many families through the immense challenges of the conflict in Sudan. With the support of our amazing donors, Save the Children was able to offer a crucial lifeline during a time of profound uncertainty. 

The words of Rana convey the transformative power of support from people like you, “thank god, our life is getting better.”  Together, we can continue to provide hope and contribute to a brighter future for Rana, Ismael and countless others like them.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

Photos: Save the Children.

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