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Economic hardship Over Turns Tables in South Sudan

Juba, Nov. 30 (The Nation Mirror) – Soaring economic hardship in South Sudan has left many women to solely shoulder family’s responsibilities traditionally known as male domain (main breadwinners). Many families of the armed forces whose salaries not paid for nearly four months bear the brunt.


Adut Aguer Ajang, a mother of two, earlier forced into marriage at age 19 in 2012, turned a family breadwinner. Adut told The Nation Mirror this week in an interview that spiraling economic situation has forced her to venture into selling tea in a makeshift café to make ends meet for her family. Tea business has become her major source to support her two children, her mother after her husband salaries in the national army were not forthcoming.

“I started boiling tea for sale earlier this year as a way to sustain my children, because there was no other better and easies option to sustain my family,” Ajang told the Nation Mirror.

Mary Care story

Mary. Picture Source: CARE South Sudan

The 23 years old mother said her struggle began after her husband sort alcohol for solution to agonizing months of salary delay, leaving her to take up family responsibilities. She says her husband’s frustration resulting from his inability to meet the family’s immediate needs as army spends months without salaries.  Adut’s husband is a major in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), but his pay barely comes in time. This December marks fourth month without pay, a situation that has forced some members of armed forces to take their lives after witnessing unbearable agony of their children. In May this year two soldiers form Police service and other from SPLA, a woman in Torit commit suicide, respectively as a result agony relating to children condition.  


Adut is one of the few women ventured out to search for an alternative source of income. “My condition forced me to this business because my husband is not getting pay to support us and nothing else can help my children, and myself”, she said.  Adut earns 500 South Sudanese Pounds on tea sells a day, an equivalent of dollar $4.86, USD 145.8 a month.


Suzan Keji, another sole family breadwinner, told The Nation Mirror in Juba that tea business is very annoying because of sexual harassments from her suppose customers. Marks of frustration are visibly telling from Keji’s eyes. Despite alleged harassment from at her makeshift café, Keji says she is left with no option available to cater for her siblings, but to sell tea. She believes, “Tea selling is mostly mistaken by men as a way of prostituting. I am selling tea because it is the only way I can support my family. I can’t get office work because I lack required education,” Keji said.


 South Sudanese Pound depreciated following its devaluation by the authority in the Bank of South Sudan in 2015. Currently, a U.S dollar trades at 103 South Sudanese Pounds.A development that did not down well in a country with high unemployment rate, making it increasingly become challenging for South Sudanese to make the ends meet.


The recent wake of violence has reversed nation’s recovering process from series of violent conflicts, destruction, and pillaging. The South Sudan government says it will repair pipelines damaged in war in bid to increase oil production to counter the spiraling economy hardship. However, the recent flare of violence in Unity makes the plan unlikely to succeed.

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