National, News

Orphans under eminent eviction

By Charles K mark

Over 79 orphans collected from the streets of Juba who had found a home at the public Libya One nursery and one primary school in Juba’s Munuki are on the brink of eviction.

The disadvantaged kids under the care of a God-servant father and guardian are having their hopes again thrown in a ditch as authorities issued an ultimatum to caretaker to vacate the space.

Atek Kiluak Orphans’ Organisation (AKOO) is taking care of at least 80 orphans picked from all corners of the city.

Martin Ojok Kennedy Lee, director of the AKOO, told the No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that they were running out of time to vacate part of the government school land that they have occupied since 2006.

He lamented that at least 80 orphans his organization has been taking care of, with the help of well-wishers will become homeless again when the deadline, September 16, 2023, elapses without any alternative to rescue the situation.

“They have given us a letter to leave this place in the coming days; we are now stuck, and we don’t know where we are to take these innocent children.” Martin Ojok told this outlet.

The AKOO director said he started the organization in 2006 with Acholi traditional dance, using his personal experience as a former street child and orphan.

Ojok recounted that he came to create a home for the abandoned kids and orphans at Libya One Primary School when he was the parent teacher association (PTA) Chairman of the school.

He revealed that the school administration claimed it wants to establish a nursery school in the very space that is being occupied by the orphans.

But Mr. Ojok believes the vacation letter served to him came as the leadership of the school is planning to put the land up for investment.

“They asked me to rent the place, and I said I cannot rent; this place belongs to the government, and I am taking care of the government’s children,” he said.

“Now they went and wrote to me saying they want to put a nursery school there, but the way I see it, they want to do things for their personal benefit but not for the government.” Mr. Ojok presumed.

According to him, the Atek Kiluak Orphan’s Organisation (AKOO) currently takes care of 46 boys and 34 girls, both of whom are children picked from the streets and others abandoned by their families.

He said the friends of the organization, such as the embassies of the US, Turkiye, India, and the USAID, and UNICEF, have been offering support such as fencing of the perimeters, food items, bedding, containers for sheltering the children, and solar panels, among others.

“I wrote many letters, and I attached the eviction letter. I have approached many people that I know. I even went to the Catholic Church and asked for the support of the land. I was sent to St. Kizito Parish to meet the Parish priest, which I did, but until now I have not received a single remedy.” Ojok narrated his quest for support.

“I am stranded, and I don’t know what to do. I am asking for help from individuals, the church, the government, or any community with a kind heart to help the children that are yet to be sent to the streets,” he appealed.

According to Ojok, one or two plots of land could be of great help in relocating the orphanage.

Efforts by No.1 citizen Daily Newspaper to get a comment from Libya One Primary School administration were frustrated as the head teacher, Madam Vivian declined to talk on the matter, when asked about the impending eviction.


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