Staff Stories: Grace Baako, IOM South Sudan Health Programe Support Assistant

I joined the health unit’s rapid response team, as a midwife, in 2014. I had trained in comprehensive nursing, which means I studied different areas like pediatrics, medical, surgical, psychiatric and midwifery.

We would provide health and nutrition support to displaced people, who were living outside of the Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites. When we would receive information about people being displaced, we would respond quickly.

I did that for 2014 and 2015.

In 2016, I joined my current role. It meant I didn’t go out of Juba as much as before but it was a sort of promotion. I now provide overall support to the migration health unit, including for the warehouse, procurement and human resources.

My favourite part of the job is reporting. I even went to Nairobi for two weeks to take part in a monitoring and evaluation training, which built up my skills.

I was born in South Sudan in Torit. During the war, my mum and uncle took my sister and I to Uganda. My uncle carried me because I was very small. I studied primary and secondary in the refugee camp. Then I went to a school of nursing in Uganda. In my mind, I wanted to become a doctor but I couldn’t make it because I didn’t have enough support.

My mum did not go to school. She was illiterate but she supported me as much she as she could. She used to struggle a lot to provide the basics for us. She would do some small businesses like brewing local alcohol to get some money to pay for us to go to school. Because of her both my sister and I got an education. And my sister now works in finance.

I can see a big difference between my mother’s life and mine. I do not have to struggle as much to provide for my children but like her I do work hard. They do not have to worry about whether or not they will finish school because of the fees.

Now, I am happy with where I am. I have three children: a boy and twin girls. With this responsibility, I cannot go fully into more studies but next year I will enroll in a distance-learning course on public health. That is my dream now.

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