War Child is an award-winning documentary that explores the devastating impacts of 22 years of civil war in Sudan through the story of Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier turned hip-hop musician and activist. As a child, Jal fought in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA, in the North-South civil war in Sudan resulted in the deaths of over two million people and the displacement of over 4 million others.
Jal’s powerful personal story and his current attempts to help his country’s youth gain access to education and opportunity are glimmers of hope even as the conflict in Darfur burns on and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, which ended Sudan’s civil war is at risk of collapse.
Jal is optimistic about the future of Sudan and Africa in general and the positive message in his music radiates through the documentary. As Michael Sullivan wrote in his Washington Post review of War Child:
Its message? Stay in school. Give a damn. Make art, not war. Never give in. Speak up. Pay it forward…But there’s another, more implicit "War Child" alluded to in the movie. That’s the still-embattled country of Sudan itself, which faces an uncertain future as the southern half of the nation wrestles with possible independence from the north and as fresher, ongoing conflicts flare in Darfur.
Visit War Child’s website for information on where you can see the film and for details about Jal’s organization, Gua Africa US, which is dedicated to helping “individuals, families and communities [in Kenya and Sudan]…overcome the effects of war and poverty.” And on the subject of education of children affected by conflict in Sudan, Enough will soon be launching a new initiative, the Sister Schools Project — more on that soon.