*The following blog was written by a new sponsor of Gua Africa's Survivors of War programme. Please note the comments below are entirely the opinion of Nathan Churlish and do not reflect Gua Africa's.*
Written by: Nathan Churlish
How do you find a charity where you can see your money at work? That is the question me and my wife pondered for a while. We will always give to the various charities we support but we wanted to find a way to donate money and see a real impact. Sure, we see successful campaigns from our traditional charities but our modest donation is barely a drop in the ocean for these multi-million pound charities and we wanted to take more direct action.
It wasn't hard to find the charity to meet our criteria. Gua Africa offer the chance to sponsor young people who have been effected by war, in particular South Sudan. We chose to sponsor Stephen (pictured above), a former child soldier who with the support of Gua Africa has been able to finish school and go on to university to study Criminology. He plans to return home to help build South Sudan's judicial system upon graduation.
It's this potential that drew us to sponsoring Stephen. Some will say can this one young man make a difference in a country stricken by turmoil? The answer is of course! Often the solutions to the world's problems originate from a single idea from a single person and maybe Stephen is that person for South Sudan. He certainly has the passion and the courage to dream big. With his education and experience he is preparing for this momentous challenge and we are excited to be a part of that.
Children fighting on the front line is a frightening consequence of war that is all too active in Africa, the Middle East, South America and Asia. Hundreds of thousands of children are on the front line being forced to violently fight for their lives on a daily basis. It shouldn't happen but it does. Thankfully Gua is fighting back with education. Education is the only weapon that has the power to bring hope for a future where this issue is no longer present.
Stephen will not only make a change in the world through striving to achieve his dreams but also by inspiring the many other children embroiled in wars beyond their comprehension. Just like Gua Africa's founder Emmanuel Jal, Stephen will stand tall and show there is hope and a way to come through the immense trauma suffered. The Survivors of War programme may well be the most important piece of the puzzle in rebuilding South Sudan, a country still in its infancy.
This is the most exciting opportunity we have had as sponsors and we continue to follow Stephen, his fellow students and Gua Africa as they tirelessly lay the foundations for South Sudan's brighter future one child at a time. We hope to be involved for many years to come.