“This season is better because we have received seeds early and we planted on time. I have received training from Trócaire and Caritas. We didn’t know what types of crops to plant for what season before. Now our farming skills have improved based on what we have been taught. We have good production and we are grateful. I have planted groundnuts and cereals. I have cultivated about two acres of land with groundnuts. This will see me through until next season. My cereal field is doing great too. You can see my farm is flourishing. My passion is farming. I am grateful all this is happening to me. Trócaire and Caritas have shown me great support and none of this would have happened without them,” Adeng Makuei Matur said.
“My children’s education depends on what I cultivate. If I had not gotten enough from my farm, I wouldn’t be able to pay the school fees for my children. Thankfully I am able to send them to school in Juba were my elder son is in university and younger one is in 10th grade. I was also able to build my house because of the improved production on the farm,” she said.
Trócaire and Caritas have also introduced a hygiene programme and education to help prevent gender-based violence.
There are still challenges to be faced by Adeng Makuei Matur and her community. “Low productivity due to lack of rains is always worrying. Also there is so much conflict within my people. It has been my desire to see people united through God as a way of spreading peace in my community. But Trócaire and Caritas have really improved our lives,” Adeng Makuei Matur said.
Idier Mayen Makuac is another resident of Lekakedu village who has benefited from the project. She is a mother of five children who also depends on food from her farm to feed her family.
“I depend on farming to survive. We experienced the worse drought last year which destroyed our crops. We went through a tough year where we faced starvation. Life was difficult because we ran out of food. It was hard to beg for food from a neighbor. I fed my family on wild leaves to survive,” Idier Mayen Makuac said.
“Then Trócaire and Caritas distributed seeds, including cereals, groundnut and tomatoes, and I was able to cultivate these. The cereals and groundnuts survive the harsh weather. I am happy I am going to have good cereals and groundnuts harvest that will see my family to the next farming season. These crops will mean I can feed my family. Life is now better. I can’t compare last year and now,” she said.
“When we received the seeds, we were taught on best farming practices. We were told to plant crops in rows. We also were taught to mix the crops and crop rotation for pest control. My message is one of gratitude. I am happy that my life has improved from support I receive from Trócaire and Caritas,” Idier Mayen Makuac said.
Idier Mayen Makuac’s farm is doing great this season and she is so proud that this year her family will not face any hunger and she will be able to support her children’s education through her production.
Peter Heaney, Head of Region for Trócaire in Northern Ireland says that this life-changing work would not have been possible without the support of the public in Northern Ireland. “We are so grateful to people here at home who donated to the Lenten Appeal in 2021. This generosity enabled us to maximise the fantastic support of the UK government through the UK Aid Match scheme and has resulted in these incredible stories of change in South Sudan.”
Due to the complex and often insecure operating environment in South Sudan and in keeping with best safeguarding practice, pseudonyms have been used for the programme participants named in this article.
Trócaire Christmas Appeal is this year focusing on ‘Children in Conflict’ in places including South Sudan, Gaza, Ukraine and Ethiopia. To find out more please click below.