Photo Essay: South Sudan children at play

South Sudan, the world’s newest country, has a lot on its plate right now – the government is still settling in, the country’s infrastructure is a work in progress, and a recent flood displaced thousands of citizens. So when Tom Price, a multimedia photojournalist and writer based in London, sent us this set of beautiful photos of South Sudanese children playing on the schoolyard, it was a breath of fresh air.

Tom, who took these photos in Yei, South Sudan just a year after the country declared independence, noticed that despite the challenging environment, these children still made time to play, an important part of childhood development. “Playtime really stuck out as a time where they could still be kids, but also play at being grown up,” he said. ” At times it seemed healthy, and at others, it cast disturbing reflections of the conflict they’d just emerged from.”

As you look through this series, notice the age ranges of the children that Tom has photographed. It’s a nice reminder that simple pleasures can have a great impact on everyone from small children to teenagers.

*These children were photographed with permission 

South Sudan At Play
Children are encouraged to play outside of classrooms at Immanuel Nursery School.

South Sudan At Play
Playing at being taller, Immanuel Nursery School.

South Sudan At Play
Bending over backwards, Immanuel Nursery School.

South Sudan At Play
Changing classes at Immanuel Model Primary School.

Ensure children like these have the energy access they need to provide their classrooms with light for learning. Sign our petition now.

South Sudan At Play
Immanuel Nursery is one of the few places you can find a swing in Yei.

South Sudan At Play
Ongoing building work also functions as an unofficial playground.

South Sudan At Play
View from outside the graduation ceremony, Immanuel Nursery School.

South Sudan At Play
Scouts drill, Immanuel Model Primary School.

South Sudan At Play
A football session is run by a local NGO to give local kids something to do, to teach them self-control, teamwork, discipline and to manage conflict.

Like these photos? Call on Congress to ensure that children like these have access to electricity in their classrooms. Sign our petition now.

If you are interested in submitting work for our photo essay series, email erin.krall@one.org.