South Sudan: JRS Home Visits with Irshad

11 December 2018

Irshad, a refugee child with disabilities from Sudan, is massaged at Doro refugee camp, in Maban, South Sudan. Masseuses from the local community are trained by JRS to provide massages to disable refugee children three times a week to reduce their stress in the camp and improve their mobility. (Albert Gonzalez Farran)

Irshad is a young refugee boy living in Maban, South Sudan with his family. Maban is located in the furthest corner of the northeast of South Sudan. It is a very isolated area and the refugee camp is inaccessible at times because of armed conflict in the region. JRS has been responding to the call for education from refugees and internally displaced persons since 1992 and continues today to meet the needs of refugees displaced by the ongoing crisis in South Sudan. In Maban, JRS provides counseling, education, recreational activities, day care for children with disabilities, and health care referrals.

For refugees who cannot reach the programs on their own, JRS conducts home visits to provide accompaniment and assess needs for further service. Irshad is one of these people. The toddler was unable to walk and could crawl only a bit when the JRS team began visiting him. Boulis is the member of the JRS Home Visits team who visits Irsad and his family a few times each week.

Resources are scarce in Maban. Food, medicine, and other supplies we take for granted have to be flown in. Relief workers have very little with which to give relief. A few months ago, JRS staff and volunteers received basic physical therapy training. Because physical therapy is what they can do, Boulis and his fellow volunteers dispense as much of it as they can.

Boulis has been visiting Irshad for months, providing physical therapy and massage during these visits. He had noticed the boy’s muscles strengthening, and Irshad could soon stand with minimal support. After a few months of physical therapy with Boulis, Irshad was able to take a few steps and even dance a bit. Irshad was unable to get to a JRS center, so without Boulis’s visits and physical therapy sessions, he could never have hoped for such progress.