Bor — Only 10 out of proposed 100 houses earmarked for war disabled, widows, and orphans have been constructed in Bor town's Pakuau estate in South Sudan's Jonglei state.
South Sudan's national commission for war disabled, widows and orphans had been planning to build the homes, but due to lack of funds, only 10 were constructed.
The construction of houses began last year and finished on Thursday, with the state governor cutting the ribbon tightened across the main entrances of the 10 houses, to symbolise the official handover to the group of beneficiaries.
South Sudan's chairperson of war disabled, widows and orphans commission, Deng Dau said his organisation wanted to honour those that died during South Sudan's long struggle for independence by providing assistance to those with special needs who had been affected by the conflict.
"Our country attained her independence due to the sacrifices made during the long years of struggle of justice, freedom and prosperity," Deng said.
Hundreds of thousands of people were left widowed, orphaned or suffering disabilities following South Sudan's decades-long civil war with the north and Jonglei, like the nation's other 10 states, has a high number of people with special needs.
An estimated 2.5 million South Sudanese died during the long north-south Sudan civil war, with nearly 4 million displaced and massive properties left in ruins.
Deng told those who had gathered to witness the occasion that it was hoped the handover would provide a measure of comfort to families who lost loved ones in the war, adding that the construction of the dwellings was an achievement made possible by both the national and state governments.
Construction costs of the 10 new houses in Jonglei state totalled SSP 1.1 million and does not include fencing and landscaping.
Deng said that the project was conceptualised as per a directive from the South Sudanese government to increase affordable and suitable housing for the families of those that lost their lives in the war "and this is a vision that may take long period than what was planned".
Deng said the project had faced a number of challenges, making the implementation process difficult.
Initial plans provided for the construction of 100 houses per state, but this was later dramatically reduced to just 10 per state due to a funding shortfall.
"These 10 units are very few in number but the intention is greater and bigger than what they have shown. They have set the motion and the process will continue to cover the whole registered population of the martyrs' survivors," Deng said.
The structrues that will house war widows, orphans and the disabled in Jonglei state, February 22, 2013 (ST)
Deng said according to statistics Jonglei state comprises of 22,036 martyrs, 20,482 widows and 50,869 orphans.
He pledged that the national commission for war disabled, widows and orphans would continue to work closely with state governments to ensure that their beneficiaries receive help so that they can contribute to development in their states.
The governor of Jonglei state, Kuol Manyang Juuk, who also attended the handing over of the 10 houses, called for further fundraising initiatives to support the program so it could be extended to help those with special needs living in the counties.
"The fund will have to be created, these are our people and why do we leave them to be supported by other people than us to support them? We are 1.3 [million] in Jonglei, and if one contributes 10 [pounds], then we will raise a huge amount of money", he told the public on Thursday.