Susan Neighbour can no longer visit the country of the children for whom she fundraises.
She first went to South Sudan in 2012, which she said was a year of peace and hope for the world’s youngest nation. It had recently separated from Sudan to become it’s own sovereign territory, and the people were optimistic about their futures.
“I cried every day, but I laughed every day, too,” she said.
This is when she began sponsoring South Sudanese children to get an education, through her charity the Young Seeds Foundation.
But then, the fledgling nation collapsed again. The village she visited was attacked and burned, and many of the children she met were killed. The students she was sponsoring fled to Uganda, where she continues to visit them in the refugee camp where they now live.
She said the camp was a gruelling place to see, but that there is hope for her students. Despite their disrupted lives they have continued with their studies, and the oldest ones are about to attend university: two to study medicine, the third human rights law.
They are determined to use the gift of education she has given them to help others.
“I just thought, I can’t help thousands, but these kids can,” she said. “You've got doctors coming through: they can help thousands of people.”
Young Seeds Foundation sponsors 11 girls and nine boys from South Sudan in Uganda.
They are holding a fundraising dinner this Saturday night from 4pm to 8pm in the Arts building at UTAS.
The dinner will include an African and Bhutanese dinner and traditional African and Bhutanese entertainment.
There will also be items for sale, such as sterling silver jewellery handmade in India, and embroidery by women from the Launceston Afghani Community.
An art auction will be held which features two pieces donated by photographer Scott Gelston (who is also a photographer for the Examiner).
Young Seeds Foundation is a partner of the Global Development Group.