JUBA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Driving toward the Episcopal Church of South Sudan in Juba's leafy suburb of Hai-Cinema during a November weekend, well-turned singing voices of children grew louder and louder from the Confident Children Out of Conflict home based there.
When the heavily manned gate flashed open, children of varied ages and in their own traditional ways paraded themselves to usher in a team of Chinese medical personnel, who had arrived in a bus.
The 9th batch team of the Chinese medics were visiting the children's home to donate some goodies including food supplements, sports kits and more significantly carry out routine medical tests on their hosts.
The Confident Children Out of Conflict home hosts more than 60 children aged between six months and 18 years from diverse backgrounds. The home keeps them away from the greedy eyes and intentions of perpetrators of all sorts of violence against children.
Hellen Boro is the Director for Confident Children Out of Conflict home. She strode toward the Chinese medics, clasping her phone in her hands before she heartedly said, "Welcome to our home, we feel blessed to have you here today". A ray of hope flashed across her broad face as she struggled to wipe sweat rolling down her cheeks amid Juba's heat.
"Most of these children are orphans, some are survivors of different forms of domestic violence including forced and early marriages," Hellen said as she pointed at the children receiving biscuits and glucose from the Chinese medics. The Chinese medical team comprises paediatricians, operation room technicians, surgeons, Ear Nose and Throat specialists, laboratory technicians, imagery technicians and internal medics.
Confident Children Out of Conflict was started in 1999 by local volunteers who sought to rescue children from the streets. It was founded by a Dutch lady called Cathy who sought to keep the children out of the streets. Cathy approached the Episcopal Church of South Sudan for a space and her wish was granted. Though the initial plan was to host less than 40 destitute children, the overwhelming numbers of street children compelled the founders of the home to admit more numbers.
Hellen stepped into the shoes of Cathy when the latter returned to her home country four years ago. She had worked as a government officer between 2005 and 2015 when she was retrenched. Born in a family of eight children in Abedi village, Yei River County, Hellen, currently in her 60s says her journey to keep the children's home intact has been challenging.
"Some of these children are rescued from abductions, separation, early marriages, forced marriages, IDPs and refugees. They need protection," says Hellen as she assists the Chinese medics in triage.
Ding Zhen is the team leader for the 15-member strong Chinese medical team. The team is composed of 13 medical specialists and two support staff. The team from China's Anhui province is the 9th batch of medical specialists and part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Chinese government and the South Sudanese government.
Their mandates are strictly on medical cooperation and are based at the Juba Teaching and Referral Hospital.
According to Ding, the former teams already visited Paloch, Torit and Rumbek as part of their medical outreach mission. "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we scaled down our plans but we will resume soon. We work closely with local doctors and nurses with an aim of raising their capacities to handle complicated clinical cases including medical operations," Ding says.
"We are here to improve friendship with the community in Juba, we have donations including milk and some nutritional supplements for the children. Some seem to have developed some fever and that is the reason we are hosting a medical camp here to establish any health-related conditions," Ding says.
He says South Sudan has high prevalence of cases of malaria, skin problems, pneumonia and tuberculosis.
The Chinese medics are dispatched by their government and do not charge any fees for their services including building the capacities of their local counterparts. Their charity in South Sudan has provided health relief to thousands of people suffering from various ailments.