Supporting refugees and returnees in South Sudan: Angelina’s Story - GOAL Global Skip to content

Supporting refugees and returnees in South Sudan: Angelina’s Story


June 22, 2023 • 2 min read

As conflict continues in Sudan, thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes. In desperation, thousands of families have fled across the border into South Sudan. Renk County has become a key entry point for returning South Sudanese refugees and other nationals fleeing the ongoing violence.

For more than three decades, GOAL has supported vulnerable communities in South Sudan. As local needs escalate, GOAL teams have been providing nutritional support across Renk County, thanks to funding from the World Food Programme and UNICEF. The programme works in harmony with health initiatives funded by Irish Aid to help local communities combat hunger.

Running for their lives

Located over 1,700 kilometres from Juba, South Sudan’s capital city, Renk County is frequently affected by man-made and natural disasters such as floods, displacement, and hunger. Despite these ongoing problems, Renk County has recently become a haven for communities in crisis. Since violence broke out in April, GOALies have been working to support refugees fleeing the Sudanese conflict.

With support from the World Food Programme and UNICEF, GOALies immediately launched an emergency response team to respond to the crisis. Additional staff have since been posted to support new arrivals at every step of their journey.

“We were already operational in Renk, and when the crisis started to result in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people at the border point of Joda, we immediately stepped up to ensure that the most vulnerable people are protected, and their basic needs are met,” says Desire Kayo, GOAL Nutrition Advisor, Renk County, South Sudan.

Returning to South Sudan

While millions of Sudanese people have been forced to flee their homes, Angelina Nangutmo is among the South Sudanese who have returned to their homeland seeking refuge.

“We all fled from Sudan to save our lives, and it was not an easy journey,” Angelina says. The 50-year-old mother feared for her own safety, but her main concern was ensuring her five children survived the treacherous journey.

“At least adults can manage hunger and the thirst, yet there are other things which made the journey very difficult.  All my money and valuable belongings were taken away from me and others who were trying to escape the conflict, so we ended up here completely empty-handed,” Angelina says.

Mothers and Children at Risk

Unfortunately, Angelina’s tragic story is not unusual. As the conflict continues, more and more families are fleeing in terror. Many of them are expectant mothers.

In response, GOAL teams are conducting nutrition assessments of pregnant and breastfeeding women to ensure mothers and their babies are healthy. At the temporary refugee camp in Renk, ready-to-eat meals are being provided to young children to combat the risk of malnutrition. Hot meals are also being served twice a day to feed over 5,000 people. In addition, GOALies are running an inpatient therapeutic programme at a local hospital in Renk to treat Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and care for people with medical complications.

You can support GOAL’s lifesaving work in South Sudan with a donation today.