Maria described to WFP Senior Communications Officer Challiss McDonough how she gathered up her five children upon hearing gunfire near their home. They walked for three months in search of safety, eating wild fruits and lily-pad bulbs. Maria gave birth to her sixth child along the way, strapped him onto her back and kept walking.
For McDonough, who met Maria last year, the women of South Sudan represent such strength:
“In the vast settlements and camps for the displaced, it is the faces of the women like Maria that I always remember.
They are mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters. They have journeyed distances I can barely comprehend — on foot, in boats, in the backs of trucks on rutted roads — with their children in tow, to find safety. To find food.
To find a way of keeping hold of the hope that they can still build better lives for themselves, and give their children a chance for a better future.”