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Africa’s Newest Country – The Republic of South Sudan

On July 9 the world welcomed its newest country and the 54th in Africa—the Republic of South Sudan. Although the challenges of a country that has spent the last five decades struggling for independence are great—a majority of the people live on less than one dollar a day and 85 percent are illiterate —there is great hope. For instance, an educational program using radio is reaching 150,000 students in 600 elementary schools across the country.

Aid for Africa member the John Dau Foundation established the Duk Lost Boys Clinic, the first ever medical facility in the region. In a country that has only one trained doctor for every 100,000 people, the clinic serves as a beacon of light for the 75-150 patients cared for each day. Since 2007 more than 52,000 patients have received life-saving treatment for Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other diseases. More than 100 Sudanese have been trained in medical care and 18 international doctors have visited and worked at the Clinic for up to four weeks at a time. The clinic, was started by John Dau who as a boy walked more than 1,000 miles from South Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya helping thousands of other children along the way. In the award-winning documentary God Grew Tired of Us his experiences as a Sudanese refugee trying to live the American dream were chronicled.

Congratulations to the Republic of South Sudan on its independence. We will continue to  follow its progress in the months ahead.