Crown The Woman has been birthed from a series of experiences with different groups of people in my life. Right from childhood experiences, having struggled through life to get where I am from leaving South Sudan at an early age (about one week old) because we seeking for a more peaceful place with our mother, leaving our father behind who refused to come with us because of fear of the unknown to child labor, to horrible experiences like rape, I knew I had to do something not only for myself but for the women and specifically the younger woman so that they don’t have to go through the same.
After my university, I came back home and got a job with a local organization (Mundri Relief and Development Association) as a civic education officer. One of my tasks was to talk to the internally displaced persons to think about peace, peaceful co-existence and abort war before we distributed food to them. I recall one of those days, as we distributed food, an elderly woman of about 80 years told me that talking to them about peaceful co-existence with other tribes was an option they were not willing to take since they had gone through a lot of suffering as a result of tribal conflicts like losing their families to tribal conflicts. I paused for a moment and thought about this woman, put myself in her shoes and I could not fit in.
In 2014, after attending a training from Play for Peace International, I asked my friends to join me in advocating for peace in schools through games and I realised it was easier to play with the children and talk to them about peace, cause when one tells a child A they’ll say A, war the child will say that and peace and the child will say just that, I realized that I had found a home where our work would be easy hence, founding PLAY FOR PEACE SOUTH SUDAN, an initiative that promotes peace in schools and conflicting communities through games.
However, due to series of war like the July 2016 war, the children were in and out of school which made our initiative slow as most actually left the country to seek refuge in neighboring countries like Uganda and Kenya. Others were displaced internally to places we had no idea about which made me to think about establishing a women’s organization because I believe when a woman is empowered so will the children and the nation; socially, economically and politically, and hence achieve that everlasting peace that we are yearning for.
In 2016, I was selected by the NOBEL WOMEN INITIATIVE to attend a conference in Brazil called the ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT (AWID) under the theme feminist futures: That’s when I re-energized and realized that I was among the few if not the only South Sudanese woman that attended. This increased my urge to start a women’s organization so as to contribute to changing the situation of women in my country. I called my friend Naomi and shared the idea which she welcomed freely and hence we worked our heads together to register Crown The Woman- South Sudan. We called the organization so because, the crown besides being a prestigious symbol given to a queen.