An aerial view of refugee camps in Upper Nile State, South Sudan.

Awathi is one of thousands who fled to Maban County in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State,
to escape fighting in August 2012. She and her little baby arrived in Yusuf Batil refugee camp,
where more than 36,000 other refugees also have settled. Despite the difficult circumstances at the camp,
I was amazed by her tremendous resilience and kindness in overcoming the challenges
of not knowing what the future holds.

A Sudanese woman holds her red shoes and she uses a traditional
method to carry her heavy bags of food provided to Sudanese refugees
at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in South Sudan. Because the camps are
spread out across large areas, she has to walk a very long distance to reach the
food distribution point. The foot paths are in the black cotton soil
earth that does not absorb water, and during the rainy season they turn into giant,
muddy slides; walking barefoot makes it easier and safer. When she finally reached
her tent, she put a big pot of water on the fire to prepare a meal of the new food ration for her children.

Rains have transformed the camp into a muddy swamp.

Sudanese refugee standing in line to receive food at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in South Sudan.

At the time this photograph was taken, more than 100,000 Sudanese had fled conflict
in Sudan’s Blue Nile State, seeking refuge across the border in South Sudan’s
Upper Nile State. Aid organisations (WFP and its partners) were
regularly delivering life-saving food supplies for refugees and vulnerable host community families
in Maban County. Here, a Sudanese refugee holds a food stamp, waiting in line
with other people to receive food at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in South Sudan.

Many families fled fighting and subsequent hunger in Blue Nile State in Sudan and sought refuge in South Sudan.
Many of them walked on foot for almost a month to settle in refugee camps in Maban county.
Humanitarian aid organisations (WFP and its partners) were
regularly delivering life-saving food supplies for more than 100,000 refugees.
Here, a man pours grains (yellow maize) into a bag during food distribution for refugees
at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in South Sudan.

A woman is collecting water from a hand-dug well.
This source of water is prone to contamination by parasites and bacteria, resulting in poor
health, malnutrition, and even death.

The Medair WASH team installs a hand water pump on rehabilitated borehole.

A woman joyfully pumps safe drinking water from the newly rehabilitated borehole.

Stream of water pouring into children’s hands in southern Burkina Faso.

A woman carries a water bucket on her head from a well to home in the village Fetomaga, Sahel region in Burkina Faso.

This little girl carries water home to her family in Liberia. She spends a few
hours a day collecting water and bringing it home. She dreams to be able to attend school someday.

Judith Nikièma was chosen among other students to receive a scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year as part of a project that helps support girls’ post-primary enrollment implemented by UNICEF in the Central West Region of Burkina Faso with the financial support of the Foundation of L’Occitane. 
Originally, she comes from Thiou village which is located approximately 30 km from Koudougou. Only through this financial support she is able to attend and live at the Bethel Center Boarding School in Koudougou.  
Judith recalls the day when she received the news, “As usual, in the morning the last September of 2017, I went to draw water from the well, my friend came running to let me know that I was chosen for the scholarship programme. I could not believe it. Immediately, I dropped what I was doing and ran to see the director of our school in Thiou. He confirmed the news. I felt overjoyed. It was difficult holding back the tears of happiness.”
Judith is a polite, cheerful, self-assured schoolgirl with short hair and big dark eyes. 
She is ambitious, determined, eager to learn and takes her tasks very seriously in the classroom. Her classroom performance is exemplary and her dedication as a student can be seen through her top grades. Judith is driven by a dream that she has, inspired by her previous female math teacher, “to be a professor of mathematics.”
Here, Judith Nikièma jumps in front of a blackboard in classroom.

In 2018 the security has been deteriorating in the northern and Sahel region of Burkina Faso. Schools became a target of invasion. Many armed attacks occurred and death threats have been received by teachers. Because of this, numerous schools were closed. 
In this emergency situation, the Ministry of Education with the collaboration of Unicef and other partners have decided to relocate the school children from the violent northern Burkina Faso, in order for the students to catch-up on their lessons and to prepare them for this year’s national exam. From the beginning of July 2018, 243 children are studying in a classroom tent erected on an abandoned compound and preparing for this year’s national exam. 
Education is vital for every child to flourish in life, especially in conflict effected areas, where children need to receive the support and learn to not only read and write but to learn how to build peaceful environments for their future.

Along with the provided tented classroom, shelter, food, clean water, sanitation, Unicef has supplied recreational school materials housed in a huge metal suitcase. Soccer balls became the most fun, enjoyable and loveable for the pupils.
One day, after 5PM, before the sun would set down, I witnessed the football / soccer game where students united around a soccer ball after they finished their homework. The playing field was comprised of dry red gavel. Goalposts were made of wooden sticks. Most boys played barefoot while some shot in plastic sneakers. Yet, they kick, chase and juggle the ball with so much energy, passion, cheer and bliss. They competed, trying to better themselves for the sheer pleasure of playing. The game was played with such a deep seeded joy. It was a “beautiful game” to behold.

n assignment at the Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), also known as an intensive care nursery (ICN). It is an intensive care unit concentrating on the care of ill and premature newborn infants.
I have met incredible Mums with their babies who were mostly premature. Some of the infants are in really strenuous condition, and sadly some of them have become little angels.
There is a room dedicated just for mothers who were coming to the hospital to meet and care for their little ones. Each day, they arrived very early in the morning and leaving late in the evening. They sat on a simple aluminum bench or on the floor where they would breastfeed, holding them tightly while talking and comforting them.
When baby’s condition has stabilized, they are either released or moved to another room that is called Kangaroo care.
Kangaroo care or kangaroo mother care (KMC), sometimes called skin-to-skin care, is a technique of newborn care where babies are kept skin-to-skin with a parent.
Here, mothers and the babies are skin-to-skin and chest-to-chest, securing the position of the baby with a stretchy wrap. This ensures physiological and psychological warmth and bonding. The mother’s stable body temperature helps to regulate the neonate’s temperature more smoothly than an incubator, and allows for readily accessible breastfeeding when the mother holds the baby this way.
It is heartwarming to observe the little babies tied tight to the mum’s chest and the impact on a baby’s health / development.
It was an honor and a privilege to be part of their lives at this important stage of life. It was a gift to witness the joyful faces on the mums while the baby was smiling and making funny faces. There seemed to be a sense of contentment and hope while the baby was eating a lot, yet when the baby was released but there is also a sense of anxiousness, worry, frustration, and uncertainty. Truly, the mum’s touch, breath, voice, warmth and pure love are crucial to the baby’s survival and life.

And, meet 15 day old little Marcellin who is tied to mum’s chest. She was born during the seventh month of pregnancy. Celine, the Mum, wishes „good health and that she will be able to take care of Marcellin and her other 5 children.

A girl is holding her vaccination record card.
During the vaccination campaign close to 20,000 children between 6 months and 15 years old
were vaccinated against measles.
The campaign also provided education on prevention of disease by vaccination, Vitamin A, and de-worming (anti-parasite) tablets. South Sudan.

Young mother, Rainatou, feeds her 13 months old son Boureima with supplemental milk formulas received at Centre de Récupération et d’Education Nutritionnel en interne de Dori in Dori, Sahel, Burkina Faso.

A little girl is held by her mother at Centre de Récupération et d’Education Nutritionnel en interne de Dori in Dori. She received supplemental milk formulas and a plumpy nut, a therapeutic food for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition, during her stay.

20 months old malnurished Alsatou receives a nutritional milk by syringe at Centre de Récupération et d’Education Nutritionnel en interne de Dori, in Dori, Sahel, Burkina Faso.

I had the privilege of visiting schools in Boulkiemdé Province in Burkina Faso, mostly meeting with middle and high school students. 
Truly, the entire experience of encountering these people was humbling. I was especially amazed by the young girls who were full of energy and had been sharing with me some of their cherished aspirations for their future. One of them said she wants to be a flight attendant to be able to travel the world! 
I also visited one of the High Schools.  As you enter the senior classroom, you are immediately struck by the large number of male students. Only a few girls are reaching this level of education. I asked the class to give me three why they felt there were very few females.  They all agreed it was 
1. Cultural
2. Pregnecy
3. Early marriage

Then, I asked for the solutions. What should be done that the equal enjoyment of the right to education can be given to every girl as well? There was silence in the class … 
I believe that boys / young men do play an important role but that girls could be given equal opportunity to receive the same quality of education. 
Boys / young men can encourage, support, and become an advocate for the right of the girl’s education and by being aware of the importance that the mother of their children can bring prosperity to their family, not mention that the women / girls can contribute a great deal to the whole community and nation itself. 

The implementation of hygiene promotion – washing hands before eating and covering food to protect it from flies, in South Sudan.

Rice farming in Liberia occurs deep in the forest and when harvest time arrives,
the whole family moves to a traditional hut thatched with dry grass.
They stay there until the work is done, and after that, more patches of the forest
are cleared and burned for rice farming.
Besides rice, other vegetables are grown like yam, cassava, sweet potatoes, and corn.
The family is sustained by the work of their hands. Everyday they give thanks to God for life.

Cyclist. He bikes from the farm carrying a jerry can and equipment used in the field.
The bicycle is very important mode of transportation for
rural farmers in northern Ghana where paved roads are non-existent.
They can transport large loads of goods from a farm to a village
or to the main market in town.

Here, cycling is a matter of necessity, a means of livelihood, transportation, and communication.

After South Sudan gained independence (July 9th 2011), Sudan forced all South Sudanese
to leave their homes in the north and cross the border into the new country. Most of them
did not have the means to move, nor homes to return to in South Sudan.
An emergency humanitarian airlift was organized between 14 May and 6 June of 2012.
IOM (International Organization for Migration) Sudan arranged 83 flights from Khartoum to Juba, relocating 12,225 returnees to Juba.
At the same time, IOM South Sudan, in partnership with UNHCR and 28 other humanitarian organisations, established a transit site on the outskirts of Juba.
With the joint efforts of these partners, shelter, food, NFI (Non Food Items kit) – containing two blankets, two mosquito nets, two sleeping mats, a plastic sheet, kitchen utensils, soap, and two jerry cans and healthcare services were provided.

Roshan, young mum of four: three boys; Berhat 5 years old, Rohdk 3
years old, Shea 2 years old and 8 months old Yasema.
As a result of the advance of the Islamic State armed group (IS) and other violence across the country, she and her family were displaced during 2014 and since then living at the camp for IDP’s in Duhok area, the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Speaking with her about the situation she said: “we just want to go back home.”

Khanke IDP camp in Dohuk, Iraq has become the home for many Yazidis families who were forced to leave their towns and cities in Sinjar region due to violence.

Jabir, 28, and Shaimaa,18, married in the summer of 2017 in the countryside near Homs, Syria.
Ten days after they’d wed, they have been working together with other family members harvesting potatoes on the field. When Shaimaa was digging the dirt, an explosion suddenly occurred. It was a mine. She was unconscious so Jabir immediately took her to a nearby hospital. However, there was no qualified medical health worker to make operate and she was transfered to a hospital in Antakya, Turkey.
The mine explosion has resulted in the loss of her vision as well as it has affected her speech. Since then she has trouble balancing because her left leg was also injured.
Last year, they had decided to have a family, and little Fatima was born. She is a light, joy and their hope. Jabir with his thankful heart is taking care of them both with so much love, dedication and commitment.

Yusuf Alhaj, at 18, joined the Free Syrian Army to fight for justice as he strongly believes that everyone has the right to live, to be free, and to feel safe.
On August 22 of 2016, Russian air force fired a rocket that hit a nearby hospital and later his station became a target in Aleppo. Four of his friends lost their lives and five others have been injured during this bombing that happened exactly at 11:45AM.
He did not feel the pain when he was losing his right arm, however, he saw it when it was taken apart from his body. His right leg as well had been smashed when the rocket hit the ground. He was conscious and aware of what had been happening with him and his surroundings all the time. He was taken to the hospital where he stayed for 38 days, and two surgeries were performed on him. During those days he took daily morphine for his severe pain. He decided to cut off the medicine, as it was very addictive, although he continues to experience the pain until today. During these times of pain and suffering, he has been forgetting that he also had lost his leg and felt quite often. Recently, he has gotten artificial leg.
Shortly after this accident happened, his story about losing right leg and arm was published on social media, where he received inspiring words of encouragement, one in particular touched his heart saying „you are a miracle not disable”.
After all those persistently enduring horrific circumstances, his inner self was strengthened, his perspective on life / approach to life shifted with more positive thoughts and actions. He now has become an activist, visual communicator and actively involved in work for children with abilities of different kind.
His mind is very creative, heart full of compassion and inspiration. He possesses unfathomable strength, unbridled perseverance, and an irresistible power. And, despite those challenges he is facing daily, he has chosen life filled with hope, peace, and gratefulness cherishing each day just to be fully alive in the full sense of the word.