At just ten years old, Majd from Sudan has seen things no child should witness in their lifetime, including the tragic death of her closest friends from an armed attack.
"They were waiting by the gate for the car to take them out of Khartoum when a shell fell nearby, and the fragments went into their bodies. They both died on the way, they couldn’t find an emergency ward."
Over the last 100 days, armed violence and civil unrest has continued to escalate in Sudan, particularly in Khartoum and Geneina in West Darfur, taking a devastating toll on children like Majd.
Even before the surge in violence, humanitarian needs for girls and boys in Sudan were high, with 15.8 million people—about a third of the total population—requiring humanitarian assistance.
How is the crisis impacting children in Sudan?
children needing urgent humanitarian assistance
displaced across Sudan and neighbouring countries
The dire situation for children in Sudan has worsened drastically since the conflict erupted in April, with 13.6 million needing urgent humanitarian assistance. Around 1.5 million children have been displaced across Sudan and into neighbouring countries – the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya and South Sudan.
Sudan has one of the highest malnutrition rates among children in the world. Even before the conflict, more than 3 million children are acutely malnourished and 610,000 are severely wasted. Critical life-saving care has already been disrupted, and many children will not survive without adequate treatment.
Access to essential supplies, such as food, water, and hygiene, for children and their families is severely constrained across most of the country.
Every child deserves to be safe, especially during times of crisis. At UNICEF, we are committed to ensuring no child is left behind in Sudan.
How is UNICEF responding?
When an emergency hits, UNICEF is dedicated to going to great lengths to care for and protect children.
UNICEF Sudan has already reached over 3 million children and women with health supplies and 1.4 million people with safe drinking water. Additionally, almost 100,000 children are attending safe learning spaces, including solar-powered e-learning centres.
Since the start of the violence, UNICEF has also established 412 child-friendly, safe and gender-responsive learning spaces, benefitting more than 24,000 crisis-affected girls and boys. These learning spaces primarily focus on addressing the psychosocial well-being of children like Majd.
Voices of children behind the conflict
Roses, nut guns
The impact of the Sudan crisis through children’s voices and drawings. © UNICEF 2023
Trying to talk about what has happened has been difficult for Majd, but drawing in her psychosocial sessions, supported by UNICEF and its partners, has provided a safe space for her to understand her emotions and experiences. The colourful pens and blank canvas allow her to express herself and even communicate her greatest wish.
"No bullets. One rose for each child."
Today, Majd wishes for peace to return to Khartoum so that she can reunite with her family in their home.
Children like Majd and Mahdi bear the brunt of violence and instability in Sudan. UNICEF urgently appeals for the immediate cessation of the conflict to protect children from harm. We will continue working tirelessly to provide life-saving support to those who need it most.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children impacted by conflict and crisis and help them build a brighter future.
Children in Emergencies
UNICEF is providing urgent assistance to children. But we can’t do it alone. We need your help today.
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