CREATING NEW LIVES AND CHANGES
Due to the weakness and vulnerability of the populations and the lack of education, the Mamiir Chol Foundation (MACH) was established to create a healthy and safe environment in the Republic of South Sudan. Fundamental values of the Mach Foundation are as follows:
- Water in the Republic of South Sudan
- Shelters in the Republic of South Sudan
- Education in the Republic of South Sudan
- Reunion of the Lost Boys worldwide
Mach Foundation Inc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides clean drinking water, shelters, and education in the Republic of South Sudan. About 99 percent of the population has no adequate drinking water and sanitation in South Sudan. Only one percent of the people in the cities had access to safe drinking water. However, the rest of the population has no access to clean drinking water. Uncleaned water sources and inadequate sanitation have killed many people every year in South Sudan. Waterborne diseases related to unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation include cholera, malaria, polio, measles, and dysentery.
Many women gather water from dirty sources; it has been a harmful option even if contaminated water is better than nothing. For example, waterborne diseases have been deadly to pregnant women and their babies. Inadequate water for essential food preparation and hygiene compounds the problem of preventing the family well-fed and healthy environment.
In addition, water troubles have been interfering with the education of girls. For example, girls who need to help their mothers gather water regularly have no time to attend school. However, when girls never receive an education, they grow up without essential learning to pass on to their children.
Like other counties in South Sudan, Twic County in Warrap State is slowly recovering from the devastation of the two-decade Civil War that ended in 2005. Another leadership war is currently ongoing in South Sudan. The birth of a new nation called the Republic of South Sudan has yet to be realized due to the persistent intertribal conflicts over dirty water, pasture, and cattle stealing with neighboring states such as Lake State on the southeast and Unity State on the east.
There have been simmering conflicts among tribes over dirty water in the dry season before and after the independence of South Sudan. The dry seasons force villagers to practice transhumance in search of water for their herds. The villagers usually transfer their cattle from highlands to lowlands or swamps with the changing seasons to get water. As a result, intertribal warfare and clan fights break out over who can control the waters even though they are filled with diseases.
The war over unsafe water is a dirty business and results in bloody battles in South Sudan. The cost of these conflicts includes the loss of human lives, internal displacement, and the disruption of standard life patterns for many households.
Between 2022 and 2025, the Mach Foundation intends to help create a safer and more peaceful community by providing equal access to clean drinking water and building shelters such as schools, clinics, orphaned homes, libraries, and community centers in the Republic of South Sudan.
The immediate aim of the Mach Foundation is to help more than 305,904 children, men, and women living in the Twic areas of Warrap State in South Sudan. The Mach Foundation hopes to help villagers drill wells to provide clean drinking water and train them to maintain the wells to have clean and sustainable water sources for many years to come. Clean water provides the foundation for a new life and healthy living. Healthy children can attend school and educate themselves for a better future. The long-term mission of the Mach Foundation will be to build clinics, schools, orphaned homes, libraries, and community centers in the Republic of South Sudan.
The Mach Foundation has many goals, including drilling wells, improving sanitation, building clinics, schools, libraries, orphaned homes, and community centers in the Republic of South Sudan.
Our primary goal is to drill up to one hundred wells per year to serve the villagers living in Twic County, especially Gok villagers and people in different counties in Warrap, Lake, Northern Bhar El Ghazal, Western Bhar El Ghazal States, who are constantly forced to walk many hours every day to obtain clean drinking water (usually unsafe) from rivers, ponds, and underground sources. Drilling over 100 wells per year will reduce the number of villagers who die from thirst and infection from unsafe water in the Republic of South Sudan.
Our second goal is to build clinics, schools, libraries, orphaned homes, and community centers in the same places. For example, the Mach Foundation will support the building of health facilities in different villages. We will build walk-in clinics in the main villages to help those who previously had to walk for many hours seeking treatment. Building these clinics will minimize deaths from diseases that formerly could not be treated because of the lack of medicines, and women will then be able to give birth in clinics rather than at their homes. In addition, the Mach Foundation will build schools, libraries, and orphaned homes and provide educational programs for everyone to encourage education and reduce illiteracy rates in South Sudan.
Our third goal is that the Mach Foundation will build comprehensive regional centers that provide space for recreation, cultural, educational, and social events that strengthen community values. Gathering in the village for a good purpose can bring peace to people’s hearts. This is impossible in the current destructive community environment. Our last goal is reunion of the Lost Boys.
The Mach Foundation will recruit and train community volunteers to work with contractor groups and individuals in every village. The fight to decrease the spread of waterborne diseases will remain an uphill battle if women remain uneducated. One of the best ways to liberate people from waterborne diseases is by providing safe drinking water and educating women in hygienic food preparation. The Mach Foundation planning system will emphasize the involvement of villagers to build trust and confidence between the foundation teams and villagers.
The Mach Foundation will educate villagers, especially women, to meet these goals. The Mach Foundation will encourage cooperation with local governments, which is essential to the safety of both the Mach Foundation teams and villagers. We will help villagers lead healthy lives in safe, sustainable communities by working together. Involving the community in the work of Mach Foundation will be the key to its success and its ability to save the lives of villagers in South Sudan.
Dirty water killed and sickened more people than the Sudanese civil wars and the current conflicts in South Sudan together. Malaria, cholera, polio, measles, dysentery, typhoid, etc., are just some of the waterborne diseases terrorizing the people in the Republic of South Sudan. According to the World Health Indicators established by the United Nations, South Sudan has some of the worst health conditions in the world. More than a thousand people die from water-related diseases each year in South Sudan, and more than 50 percent of those deaths are due to malaria and cholera.
Malaria is an illness caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The initial symptoms of malaria are like those of the flu, including fever, chills, sweats, headache, vomiting, and body pain. Without rapid diagnosis and treatment, malaria can quickly transform into a serious disease and death. Since there is no vaccine against malaria, malaria is a medical emergency, and the right treatment cannot be delayed. People can protect themselves against malaria by taking prescription drugs and preventing mosquito bites during the night.
Cholera is a waterborne illness that is spread by eating or drinking water contaminated by Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes the disease. Cholera patients suffer from watery diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, stomach pain, and muscle cramps. The improvement of access to drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene is essential to the fight against cholera. In addition, safe and effective cholera vaccines are often used to complement the major cholera response efforts.
Polio is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease of the nervous system. It is a debilitating and life-threatening disease caused by poliovirus that can infect and paralyze a person’s spinal cord. Paralysis is the most serious symptom of polio since it can lead to permanent disability and death.
Most people suffering from polio do not feel ill. Some individuals have only minor symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs. Polio hardly leads to permanent loss of muscle function. Polio can be deadly if the muscles used for respiration are paralyzed or if there is a brain infection.
Good handwashing practices can help prevent the disease from spreading. Because the virus responsible for polio resides in the feces (poop) of an infected person, the person infected with the disease can pass it on to others if they do not wash their hands well after defecating. In addition, individuals may become infected if they drink water or eat food contaminated with infected feces. The polio vaccine can protect against polio. The best way to protect yourself and people from polio is to maintain high public protection against polio through vaccination.
Measles is an illness caused by a highly infectious virus. People with measles can spread the virus in the air by coughing, sneezing, or breathing. Measles symptoms can include skin rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red and watery eyes. Some people who get measles also get a serious lung infection, like pneumonia. Even though serious cases are rare, measles can cause brain swelling and even death. Measles can be particularly serious in infants and those suffering from malnutrition or weakened immune systems. Measles vaccination is the best way to prevent measles. In another word, getting the vaccine is the best protection against measles.
The Mach Foundation will open the eyes of the South Sudanese people by teaching them and providing equal access to clean drinking water. When generations have been raised on the same dirty water, people never realize what makes them sick, leading to death. With prompt fluid replacement with safe drinking water and have enough drugs, the mortality rate of those infected can drop from more than sixty percent to less than twenty percent.
It is no surprise that, due to overcrowding and limited resources, intertribal and clan feuds break out over who controls the parasite-ridden waters. These useless feuds brought even more division and death into an already strained country. The lack of wells in the villages promotes migration and discourages schools, clinics, libraries, community centers, and markets. Due to the constant migration of people, the establishment of community centers, schools, clinics, libraries, safe transportation, and marketplaces is impossible in the Republic of South Sudan.
SOCIAL SAFETY AND WATER
Unlike many of today’s problems in the United States, major issues in South Sudan can be prevented with a simple solution: water wells that produce clean drinking water. Clean water is the only requirement for reducing waterborne diseases in the Republic of South Sudan. Moreover, introducing a dependable source of safe drinking water in South Sudan would encourage job opportunities, healthy systems, community centers, local schools, clinics, and libraries in South Sudan.
Inevitably, this would bring about growth. It would promote peace and eventually lead to a more stable South Sudan. The security of Twic County has been badly affected by the disruption to farming activities caused by various militias. Cattle raiding has impoverished the people in South Sudan. Husbands, wives, and children are constantly separated by water-seeking chores and the need to care for cattle far away from the village.
In dry seasons, the riverbank is the only place for cattle and people to get water. Husbands and youth usually follow the cattle, and wives remain with the small children in separate locations without their husbands. Emotional issues become a negative consequence because of the long-distance separations with no communication and no good road networks. Constructing wells for humans and building water tanks for cattle, sheep, and goats will stop humans from sharing watering holes with animals. The best solution for both humans and cattle in Twic County is to have safe drinking, which will keep families together and living in peace and a secure environment.
Spring is a deadly season for the South Sudanese people because the environment is already dry, and there is even less water. During this season, villagers remove the weeds in their farmlands to cultivate their crops in May when they see the signs of rain coming. The sun gets hotter, making everyone very thirsty in the season between winter and summer. The movement of villagers searching for dirty water increases, and intertribal conflict over cattle takes a high toll.
LACK OF ACCESS TO ADEQUATE SANITATION
For most of us in the developed world, finding a bathroom, toilet, and tap water is accessible. However, in the Republic of South Sudan, it is hard to find a restroom anywhere. Many of them were destroyed by the civil wars, current leadership war, and some areas never had them to begin with. Sometimes a bathroom may be shared, although it may not have running water, and it can be a long walk away.
There are no tap water or public water systems in rural areas of South Sudan. Many people do not have access to even a simple pit latrine, and they have no source of safe drinking water. This is a considerable challenge, especially for people living in remote villages. The dangers of inadequate sanitation are well known. Contaminated drinking water and disease transmission become difficult to avoid in the Republic of South Sudan.
Due to cultural norms, lack of education, and shyness, a woman cannot ask a man who is not a relative member to show her the location of an outdoor toilet, which is usually a hole dug in the ground. The lack of bathrooms and latrines is dangerous, particularly for women, who are typically embarrassed when seeking out a public restroom when men are waiting to use the same facilities when they even exist in some areas. Public toilets are rare in a ravaged land like the Republic of South Sudan, with no steady electricity or water. Poor sanitation always spreads disease. Improving sanitation and providing education is the only key to liberating the villagers of South Sudan.
IMPROVING SANITATION IN SOUTH SUDAN
How can we provide sanitation to the poor and infant South Sudan nation? According to a report by UNICEF, “An estimated 6 million people in South Sudan lack pit latrines and defecate in the open spaces. Open defecation is a major contributing factor to a myriad of water and sanitation-related diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, polio, and acute respiratory infection amongst others.”
In South Sudan, defecating in open spaces without toilet facilities and sewer systems is a stunning issue. The process of keeping places free from dirt, infection, and disease by removing waste and trash, improving hygiene, and educating villagers is a crucial solution. We must persuade the villagers to change their cultural stereotypes and respect genders. The Mach Foundation will play a significant role in teaching villagers to clean their environment and maintain good health. Educating villagers will bring fundamental dignity to the community and improve the lives of villagers.
The Sudanese Civil War destroyed the infrastructure. Therefore, clean water and toilets need to be constructed from the ground up. Another intelligent solution to improving sanitation includes improving soil resources and transforming waste into a resource. Building dry toilets or providing portable toilets can be a workable short-term solution to reducing disease.
Availability of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation will support the general health, safety, and well-being of South Sudan. Whenever a population is free from the outbreak and persistent diseases, the way becomes clear for healthy babies to grow into successful children and productive adults. Comprehensive education can develop and give individuals the personal tools to better their lives. Clean water leads to more excellent health and nourishment, promoting collective productivity.
LACK OF ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Education is a legitimate right of every person in the world. However, the Sudanese civil war and the ongoing struggle against the leadership in South Sudan, which erupted in 2013, have been accompanied by challenges that have had negative consequences and continue to undermine education. For example, in the remote parts of Twic County, all the schools are functioning under the trees because there are no buildings. Some buildings were destroyed in the Sudanese civil war and there were none in certain areas.
Second, in the Twic areas, many children do not have access to school because of the long distances to get there in most areas of Twic County. The distance between home and school makes learning very hard for children, which made them miss some lessons. For example, some students could walk an hour and a half a day to attend lessons, and sometimes they don’t go to school because they get discouraged by waking up every 5:00 am and walking a long distance to get to the school at 7:00 am.
The final challenge is the flooding of Twic County. Young children cannot wake up and start walking in cool water in the morning. Older children can take off their clothes and cross the river on the other side. However, young children cannot be successful in going to school every day and passing the final examinations. Building school facilities will provide equal opportunities for all students in the remote areas of Twic County.
The Mach Foundation will offer scholarship programs for students from single-parent families and students with disabilities and orphans. Second, students who are intellectually impressive, motivated, and believe in the possibility of their unique world shift. Third, students who show leadership within their school, community, or home. Lastly, students who are committed to advancing their education and have a strong desire to attend a four-year university.
REUNION OF THE LOST BOYS
The aim is that the Lost Boys will reconnect and meet after more than 20 years to 30 years of leaving the refugee camps. The names of more than 1,256 lost boys from Minor Group 6 and 41 will be collected around the globe. Second, the Mach Foundation will determine the location of active members, if they live in Africa, America, Australia, Canada, and Europe, and if they are killed or dead. Third, the Mach Foundation will find former teachers and guardians who are alive or murdered/dead. Finally, the Mach Foundation will hold a conference of the Lost Boys of Minor Group 6 and former refugee leaders in the United States.
The reunion of the Lost Boys of Minor Group 6 and 41 with their former teachers, caretakers, camp leaders in the United States, along with American friends, will be the cornerstone after 20 years to 30 years of departing from refugee camps. The Lost Boys will present leadership, care, and education awards to former teachers, caretakers, and leaders for their services in the camps.
Paulino Mamiir Chol
Author of Leading the Lost Boys
Founder of Mach Foundation
Ph.D. student at Colorado Technical University in Management and Homeland Security
Master’s degree in Law and Policy from the University of Denver College of Law
Bachelor of art degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Colorado
Associate of applied science degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management