UN World Food Programme

“I Can’t Believe I'm Back," Says Returning Mother In Southern Sudan

Grace Martin Lado has recently returned to Southern Sudan with her family after fleeing to the north when she was seven years old. Photo:WFP/Amor Almagro

Grace Martin Lado, 25, has returned to Southern Sudan 18 years after her family fled the fighting there. Her family faced an arduous trip back to their homeland and food rations from WFP are helping them to resettle.

“I still cannot believe I am back here in Juba,” says Grace Martin Lado, 25, as she sits under a tree breastfeeding her youngest child. She and her eldest daughter, Elizabeth, are waiting to receive their WFP food ration.

Grace and her husband Dennis together with their four young children moved back to Juba from the northern capital city of Khartoum in mid-November.

From Khartoum they had to travel by road to Kosti in White Nile State from where they boarded a barge that took them on an 18-day journey along the Nile River to reach Juba.

“I was only 7 years old when my family fled the fighting in Juba in 1992,” said Grace, one of the hundreds of thousands of southern Sudanese who have recently returned to the south to vote in the referendum that will take place on 9 January 2011.

So far, WFP has assisted some 54,000 returnees and is ready to assist up to half a million of them.