24 Mar 2019


“We Are Ready To Work Towards Reconciling And Healing Communities” Says Yei Community Leaders

Over 30 local community leaders comprising of chiefs and elders in Yei River State have said they are ready to work towards reconciling and healing community members who are suffering from trauma due to absence of peace and the deteriorating economic situation.

 “We Are Ready To Work Towards Reconciling And Healing Communities” Says Yei Community Leaders
Community leaders in Yei pose for a group photo after their training [Gurtong photo|Daniel Friday]

By Daniel Friday Martin

YEI, 23 July 2018 [Gurtong]– The 35 community leaders revealed this to Gurtong after an intensive five days training on practical tools to overcome trauma, restore hope and build resilience among communities in South Sudan’s conflict affected Yei River State.

The five days training organized by Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) in collaboration with AECOM-VISTAS funded by USAID, aimed at empowering communities with knowledge and practical tools to address trauma so as to create a path to healing and reconciliation.

Reverent Mikaya Hakim one of the participants said he has acquired new skills to help his community that has been badly affected by the conflict.

“This training has come at the right time when majority of us are traumatized. We are ready to go back to the communities and speak to our people on the ways to come out of trauma.”
He called on South Sudanese citizens and its leaders to work for peace and reconciliation in order to move the country to a new path for peace and development.

Hakim is calling on CEPO and its partners VISTAS to work hard and extend more training to the rural community members who are suffering from trauma at the Payam and Boma levels.
Another participant, Elnai Baba also appreciated the trainers and said; “We are ready to pass the same practical skills to benefit my community. I am ready to work for peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing for a peaceful Yei River State” he stressed.

Lilias Galaka Jackson a community sub chief in Yei River County said she will use the skills to advocate for peaceful co-existence.

“Many of us have suffered many challenges such as rape, killings and murder and this has created deep wounds in our hearts but with what we have learnt from here, we are ready to empty our hearts to pave way for true reconciliation and forgiveness at the community level”  she added.

The chairperson of the State Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Raphael Jira Sabuni appreciated and thanked CEPO and VISTAS for supporting communities towards peace and reconciliation at the grass root levels.

Jira revealed that many people are returning to their villages and are in need for reconciliation approaches for to enable peaceful co-existence.

“People are coming back to their places and some of their places have been occupied by people who were displaced from somewhere. I also appeal to CEPO and VISTAS to continue supporting our communities through peace engagement because we need peace in our state and South Sudan at large” he added.

Carolin Akulia a trainer working for VISTAS-South Sudan urged the community leaders to apply the learnt skills to transform the lives of other people depressed with trauma in the community.
 “You are the leaders who can help the people down in the communities and therefore use this knowledge to change our communities and get out of the circle of violence so that people start a healing journey and reconnect families to support one another” she said.

In a statement to Gurtong, CEPO-YEI team says it will work hand in hand with its partners VISTAS and AECOM so that more efforts are exerted for community dialogues to promote for peaceful co-existence.

“We are ready to reach out to the communities with peace and reconciliation messages so that the common people at the grass root can realize peace and work hard to rebuild their livelihoods through agriculture and other means of local production in order to improve their living standards.  The statement added.


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