The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is providing new hope for thousands of disabled people in Southern Sudan. It says a new rehabilitation center has opened in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan that will fit disabled people with artificial limbs.
The situation in Sudan has been relatively stable in recent weeks in comparison with earlier months. The International Committee of the Red Cross says this respite has allowed it to develop a number of long-term projects to help people affected by armed conflict.
In 2005, north and south Sudan signed a peace deal ending 20 years of war. ICRC Spokesman, Marcel Izard, tells VOA the adverse affects of this, Africa's longest civil war, linger.
"One of these long forgotten problems is that these estimated 35,000 disabled people living in southern Sudan, they did not get any help," said Izard. "They were not able to get an artificial limb before. And, that is something really we have been focusing on now because we know that it is so important for families. For instance, the breadwinner is a disabled person, disabled by a gunshot wound or any other injury, that if he or she cannot work anymore that it would be a huge problem for a bigger family."
Izard says being able to help these people get back on their feet and help them to work again is a huge boon for them and their society.
Earlier this month, the ICRC opened a brand-new center for disabled people in Juba. It is the region's first-ever physical rehabilitation center and will cater to thousands of disabled people in southern Sudan, including many war wounded.
Izard says patients will be fitted with artificial legs and other limbs free of charge. He says when it is fully operational the facility will be able to serve 100 patients a month.
"It is extremely important to restore the dignity of those persons that they are able to walk and work again and to have a social life again," he added. "In those areas, if you are disabled and you are not able to walk again, you are basically marginalized. So, by providing them with an artificial limb, they will be able again to be part of the community. And, that is obviously important, not only important for helping the families get the work and help the families financially. It is even more important socially and morally for them to become again part and parcel of the community as a full member."
Izard says a lot of progress has been made in rehabilitating the lives of people who have suffered so much during the war years. He says it would be tragic were war to break out again.