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Milou de Bruijne

‘Life in South Sudan is unpredictable and fragile’

She is moved by those who have lost everything: Milou de Bruijne (32) works for ZOA and Dorcas in South Sudan. Recently, she gave an interview with the Dutch magazine Elisabeth about life in this country. It's so unpredictable and fragile.


‘Every person deserves a fair chance’

The South Sudanese have a lot to deal with. Years of conflict, and natural disasters caused by climate change force many people to leave everything behind. ZOA and Dorcas work together in South Sudan to support refugees and displaced persons. Team member Milou de Bruijne recently shared about life in this country, in the Dutch magazine Elisabeth:

Dina* started her own business in good spirits. She was overjoyed at the opportunity she was given, thanks to the support of a savings and credit group. Her tea stall was just starting to thrive when a torrential flood washed everything away. She invested again, until an armed group burned down the entire village - including her tea stall.

“The story of this woman is typical for the lives of many in South Sudan,” says Milou de Bruijne (32), who has been living in the East African country since last year. “It is so unpredictable and fragile.”

As a manager for the collaborating Christian emergency aid organisations Dorcas and ZOA, Milou is committed to helping the South Sudanese population, of which 70 percent is dependent on humanitarian aid. Years of conflict still don’t seem to have come to an end, despite a peace agreement. Four million people have already fled.

Changing climate

In addition, South Sudan has a new enemy: climate change. As a result, the inhabitants have now experienced severe flooding for four years in a row. Even more people are now displaced.

The need is high in the country, and that is exactly why Milou wants to be there for the South Sudanese. Together with her mainly local colleagues, she makes sure that people receive the basic necessities of life. And at the same time, that they become more resilient to survive in such a difficult situation.

Floods in South Sudan 2023 photo Ruben Timman

For example, we ensure that people receive cash to be able to buy what they need most – if the market offers enough. And we train farmers to deal with a changing climate. Our projects offer a little hope for the future.”

It is difficult to make a difference on a large scale, Milou acknowledges. But that is possible in the lives of individuals. And every person deserves a fair chance.

*Name changed

Photos: Lieuwe Siebe de Jong and Ruben Timman

Read more about ZOA's work in South Sudan