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A girl laughs with her friends in South Sudan

South Sudan

Mary’s Meals supports more than 81,000 children every school day in South Sudan

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Where we work

Life in South Sudan

South Sudan is currently ranked 191 out of 191 countries and territories in the Human Development Index (HDI). It is the world’s youngest nation (after gaining its independence from Sudan in 2011) but is also one of the most under-developed countries on earth. Almost 70% of the population earns below the International Poverty Line ($2.15 per day).

South Sudan (officially the Republic of South Sudan) is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. It shares borders with six neighbouring countries: Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.

A perfect storm of persistent conflict, economic crises, reduced crop production and a reliance on imports has made life for the people of South Sudan extremely challenging. It is estimated that 6.4 million people (more than half the population) have insufficient food to eat. This figure rises even higher for people living in Lakes State, where Mary’s Meals operates.

In this desperately perilous context, education is rarely a priority. Around 2.4 million primary school-age children are out of school. Literacy rates for women are among some of the lowest in the world and an estimated half of South Sudanese girls get married before the age of 18.

A volunteers serves food to children in South Sudan

Mary's Meals in South Sudan

Mary’s Meals has been serving school meals in South Sudan since 2008 (formerly Sudan). We work with two partners, the Diocese of Rumbek and MHA (Mary Help Association). 

Working closely with Diocese of Rumbek, we are bringing much-needed consistency to children across the Lakes and Warrap states – regions plagued by persistent violence and food insecurity. Continuing conflict has led to increased numbers of internally displaced people seeking refuge in Rumbek, but the region is receiving limited support from aid agencies despite the strain on food and resources from an increasing population.

In 2021, we partnered with MHA to begin reaching more than 11,000 children in remote areas in the Western Bahr el Ghazal and Central Equatoria states. MHA re-established – and, in some cases rebuilt – some of these schools that had been abandoned after years of conflict in the area, to give children access to learning again. 

Mary’s Meals is one of the few organisations providing reliable and consistent school feeding in South Sudan and in this challenging context we rely heavily on the tireless work of our partners to continue to provide a lifeline for the children we serve.

Food Changes the Story

Help us reach the next hungry child

When did we start working in South Sudan?

We have been working in South Sudan since 2008 (formerly Sudan).

How many children do we reach in South Sudan?

Mary’s Meals supports more than 81,000 children every school day in South Sudan.

What meal do we provide?

A typical school meal consists of a grain (maize, sorghum or rice) and beans.

Where are we based/where do we operate?

Our programme operates in the Lakes, Warrap, Bahr el Ghazal and Central Equatoria states of South Sudan.

What is the capital of South Sudan?

The capital city of South Sudan is Juba.

What language is spoken in South Sudan?

English is the official language of South Sudan. More than 60 indigenous languages are also spoken.

What currency is used in South Sudan?

The South Sudanese pound (SDG).

What is the population of South Sudan?

The population of South Sudan is 11,452,740