Escaping Poverty and War

Kondok has experienced much suffering and hardship in her life.

Escaping poverty and war in South Sudan

Growing up on the border of Unity State in South Sudan she witnessed frequent cattle raids and attacks on her local village. Amidst poverty and harsh conditions, Kondok became the third wife to a polygamous elder. She lost her first four children due to lack of medical treatment.

"I just lost them because whenever they became sick, I could not have any money to take them to towns where the hospitals are for treatment", she said wiping tears from her eyes.

In 2012, Kondok fled her home with her only surviving daughter, escaping an attack that killed many of her neighbors. Leaving everything behind, Kondok and her daughter ran for their lives and eventually came to a settlement camp in Kuajok, the capital of Warrap State. Like other internally displaced persons they were given plastic sheets, blankets, and a small food ration.

It was there that she met an extension worker named Ajak Simon who encouraged her and other women to form a small fellowship and savings group.

Kondok sells vegetables at a market stall in South Sudan as part of her new business.

Kondok sells vegetables at a market stall in South Sudan as part of her new business.

Contributing to the group savings was a great challenge as Kondok could barely make $1 a day to buy local bread for her and her little daughter. However with a lot of encouragement, Kondek became convinced that she could save 50 cents a week. She also began to fetch fire wood to sell in town and was able to save 650 South Sudanese pounds ($36 USD) by the end of Oct. 2014.The officer then advised her and other members of the group to register with the newly opened South Sudan Community Bank.

After three months, Kondok applied for her first loan in the amount of 500 South Sudanese pound ($30) and was trained with her other group members on choosing a good business. Kondok decided to farm and sell vegetables. She rented a small garden and planted various types of vegetable seeds that were donated to her group. After three months Kondok's first vegetables reached Kuajok market. She happily sold them to people in the town and neighboring villages, using new business skills she learned in her savings group.

"My vegetables are always the first to be sold and finished as I have to clean them well and I am a good friend to most of the ladies coming to town here to buy vegetables everyday".

vegetable stall in South Sudan

When asked whether joining the South Sudan Community Bank program has helped transform her life, Kondok said.

"I am now very happy. I am able to feed my family from my business, which I started through this program. I feed myself and my little daughter. I pay for my house rent from my business; I pay for school fees for my daughter, I always borrow money from our community bank to do my business and from my profit I buy clothes for myself and my daughter. Last month she was sick with malaria and I took her to hospital. I would not have managed to take her to hospital, maybe I could have lost her like the other four of my children that I lost before if I had not joined this program."

Kondok continues to watch her daughter grow and is working to build a brigther future for their family.  As her business expands, Kondok intends to buy a piece of land in Kuajok town in the near future.

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