The case of the death of dozens of children inside an orphanage recently shook public opinion in Sudan.
Sudanese media quoted the director of the “Maygoma” house, Mona Abdullah, as confirming the high number of deaths, as the real number of children who died during the month of November reached 31, while 11 children died in December, and 12 deaths were recorded among children during the month of January. .
It is noteworthy that “Al Maygoma” is a primary care home for orphaned and deprived children, in which health services and social care are provided to them, including housing, food, and others until the age of five, after which the child is transferred to other homes.
The Maigoma was established in 1961 with a maximum capacity of 400 children. The state had no hand in supporting the home, as it was running with the support of Sudanese donations and some charitable organizations such as the French “Doctors Without Borders” organization, whose contribution to the management of the home amounted to 3 million dollars until 2077, and the “I am Sudan” organization, which took over the task of managing the home until the year 2009. After disputes between the organization and the Ministry of Social Affairs, the house was transferred to the ministry, and the Sudanese government became directly responsible for it.
After the organizations abandoned the home’s support, it was badly affected, as significant financial support was absent, an administrative imbalance occurred, and workers’ salaries were delayed, which led to some of them leaving. This was accompanied by a high rate of mortality among infants. Some attributed this to the lack of money and the high number of children, as what was previously owned by one child is now shared by four, starting with housing and food, through clothing and medicine, and ending with nurses and nannies.
The head of the “Take My Hand Organization for Children,” Afkar Omar Mustafa, visited the home following the shocking information about the deaths, and explained that the home suffers from an administrative defect.
Mustafa told Al Arabiya.net that “the house needs a volunteer office that includes voluntary and charitable bodies and undertakes the tasks of following up on shortages, as well as following up on children in hospitals, in addition to taking charge of entertainment programs as was the case in the past.”
Children in the Maigoma face very complex health challenges, as some children come to the home with injuries, fractures or diseases.
Mustafa said that she will work with her team on an urgent emergency plan for the file, and she will use a team of nutrition and health care experts. In this regard, she said, “The food situation inside the home is catastrophic and requires urgent intervention.”
At the conclusion of her interview with Al Arabiya.net, Mustafa appealed to the competent authorities to “the need to look with compassion for the children” and also demanded that charitable organizations and volunteers take over the management of the house, as was the case in the past.
For his part, activists and volunteers led campaigns to mobilize support and visited the home to find out its needs. On the other hand, others have launched campaigns to educate and raise awareness of the community on how to deal with a child without parents and what can be done to bring him safely to the home. They also sent a message to the government to facilitate procedures for dealing with orphans and to increase government financial support for them.
Child deaths opened fire on the “Maygoma” administration and the Ministry of Social Welfare in Sudan, and activists circulated on social networking sites the hashtag #Save the Maigoma, criticizing the state’s policies towards the children’s file in general and its failure to play its role in caring for the role of social care.
Through this hashtag, activists also encouraged families to adopt children without parents and extend a helping hand to volunteers to meet the needs of the home.