Mia Farrow is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
I am on my way to Southern Sudan at an exciting moment in their history. The people have just voted for a free and independent nation, which will be realized in July. This is a time for celebration at the birth of a new nation.
|UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow is greeted by children at the Dereige camp for people displaced by the conflict in Darfur, June 2006.|
This is my third trip to Southern Sudan. I have friends here and we have had lots of conversations about what the future might look like. They are convinced that with their freedom things will change. They hope for peace and with it sustainable economic development, education and health care. This is a country with scary statistics. One out of every 7 children will die before their fifth birthday. Fewer than 50% of children receive 5 years of primary education. 92% of women cannot read or write. Only 10% of children are vaccinated. More than 50% of the people do not have access to clean water. And less than 7% have latrines. South Sudan will become one of the least developed countries on earth.
To be sure, there are challenges ahead. But over and over again the people here have demonstrated extraordinary resilience, courage and determination. Still, the assistance of the international community will be crucial in ensuring that the lowest rung of the economic ladder will be within the reach of this fledgling nation.
Read more of Mia's blogging from Southern Sudan at http://miafarrow.org/