Engineers put skills to work for South Sudan
Chinese peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have improved the lives of people in local communities through solving some daily challenges, consequently promoting reconciliation and peace-building activities.
The peacekeepers, with engineering skills, have repaired and upgraded supply lines, addressed water challenges, built bridges and made donations. Based in Wau, they recently donated a variety of sports equipment to the state's Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
The donation was handed over to the state's Women Footballers' Association, and included footballs, pumps, socks and skipping ropes.
The athletes hope the equipment will help them realize their future dreams of representing their country in international championships or securing contracts with international clubs.
"I am left with no words to express my gratitude and happiness to the peacekeepers for giving this equipment to us," Suzi Peter, chairperson of the association, said in a statement published by the UN Mission in South Sudan on Tuesday.
Peter said they had previously been improvising equipment to train and exercise, thus unable to achieve the best results.
"To do a lot of jumping without skipping ropes is just not the same as it is hard for us to tell how well we are doing and whether we are improving or not. What we have been given will make a big difference for us," she said.
Samuel Edward, a member of the John Garang Football Academy, said the new equipment is a big moral boost to footballers.
"What we have received is equipment that I had only ever seen on television before, used by professional players in the most important football leagues in the world," he said.
Emmanuella Khamisa, an 11-year-old girl in the same academy, said apart from providing sporting equipment, female peacekeepers have helped break stereotypes about girls in the community.
She said women not only play football, but they have also joined the security forces, something that South Sudanese women were not allowed to engage in culturally.
Khamisa hopes that the encouragement from the peacekeepers and the community will help her realize her dream of playing for the country's national team and one of the big clubs in Europe.
In addition to cultural, sports and other donations, the troops have helped to rehabilitate and upgrade infrastructure projects, thereby helping improve transportation.
Last month, the engineering troops carried out construction activities in the Aweil camp area of the UN Mission in South Sudan, including airport terminal construction, parking apron construction, the erection of protective fences around the airport and road rehabilitation.