On the plane are two passengers from Hope For South Sudan (HFSS) a safe house and school protecting children from human trafficking near Torit run by Lift Up the Vulnerable (LUV). HFSS protects and educates nearly 390 children between 5 and 18 years of age. The South Sudanese managed project includes a school that caters for students from nursery age to primary eight and in 2022 will include high school. It is one of three anti-trafficking centres spanning Sudan and South Sudan that provides protection, education, and economic empowerment to over 1,500 children at- risk to modern day slavery.
‘We flew down with MAF two weeks ago and were in Nairobi for two weeks,’ explains Stella Ahasa, HFSS Child Welfare Coordinator and a key leader in LUV’s network. 12 year old Petra, (not her real name) needed specialized care not available locally and was taken to Nairobi for treatment,’ Stella explains. ‘I accompanied her and now we’re happy to be on our way home again.’
The reason for Petra’s treatment, Stella explains, is sensitive - and related to the reasons she is now in LUV’s care. With little to no medical services in the remote regions LUV works, medical evacuations are the norm when caring for vulnerable children and women.
Petra looks wide-eyed at the horizon that stretches out ahead of her. She is brave and interested at the changing scenery she can see from the window of the plane. Only occasionally does she reach out for Stella’s hand as the plane rides patches of turbulent air.
It is early afternoon by the time they land. It has been a very long day and as they disembark at Torit both Petra and Stella are glad to be home. ‘The flight was great,’ Stella says enthusiastically. ‘It is a very long, tiresome journey by road – it takes two days, you have nowhere to sleep so you sleep in the car. Flying with MAF is so much better!’