South Sudan | Returning to help build a better future for her country

South Sudan | Returning to help build a better future for her country


Having once fled civil war, #RealLifeHero and returnee Ritah Alfred is working for FAO to support livelihoods for her fellow citizens

Ritah Alfred was born near Juba when South Sudan was still the southern region of Sudan. In 1993, she escaped the civil war that eventually led to the creation of the world’s newest country. Travelling with her family to Uganda at the age of 4, Ritah was then raised by her uncle and secured a good education, finally enjoying a safe and comfortable life.

Ritah could have stayed in Uganda. Instead, as soon as she graduated from university, she returned to South Sudan to help build her new country.

“I wanted to return because I love my country, and I am proud to be South Sudanese. I strongly believed that I have a role to play to bring peace and development, so I also returned to make a difference and change in my community,” she says.

Ritah first encountered FAO when working for a local custodial company hired to keep the agency’s offices in Juba clean and orderly. She was impressed by the work she saw taking place. When a staff opportunity opened up on the team that manages the delivery of agricultural supplies to families in need, Ritah went for it and got it.

South Sudan is not always an easy place to work, in any sector, and humanitarian work is notoriously tough – safety concerns, cultural constraints, poor infrastructure. These are just some of the hurdles that humanitarian workers, in particular female humanitarian workers, face.

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