Monday 19 February 2018

Aid worker discovers 35 babies in remote South Sudan camp called after Irish charity

Communications officer for the charity Anteneh Tadele discovered the children - all named 'Goal' - in an isolated camp in Melut, in the north-east of South Sudan
Communications officer for the charity Anteneh Tadele discovered the children - all named 'Goal' - in an isolated camp in Melut, in the north-east of South Sudan
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

It's certainly a namesake with a difference.

An aid worker has discovered 35 babies in a remote camp in South Sudan who have all been named 'Goal' after the charity.

The South Sudanese toddlers were all named after the Irish-headquartered charity who has teams of aid workers in the area.

The children, all ranging in ages from two to four years, include a set of twin boys who were both called 'Goal'.

Communications officer for the charity Anteneh Tadele discovered the children in an isolated camp in Melut, in the north-east of the African country.

The community were once based in Baliet town, but were forced to flee during the ongoing conflict in Upper Nile State.

One mother, Nyale Bolchwal, said she named her twin boys 'Goal' after the staff who helped her deliver her babies in the clinic.

"The conflict broke out while I was pregnant," said Nyale Bolchwal.

"At that time, I was having treatment at GOAL’s clinic at home in Baliet and I was ready to give birth.

"When we were forced to flee, GOAL followed us and provided all the services that we needed on the way to the camp in Melut. A few days after I arrived here, the GOAL staff delivered my children safely in the clinic. I had twin boys and I named them both ‘Goal’."

At just two and half years of age, Nyale’s boys are too young to understand their names, but their mum said she will tell them in time.

Another mother said she named her daughter 'Goal' because her baby was delivered safely at the charity's clinic in a country where she knows that giving birth to a healthy child is not a straightforward procedure.

Nignan Bam said; "At that time, the women had so many complications at birth but when they came to GOAL’s clinic they were able to have the baby safely with the help of the midwife."

The mothers and babies have formed a friendship at the camp and regularly meet up for their children to play together, despite the confusion of having 35 children all bearing the same name.

The charity's Head of Programmes, Fiona Gannon, said she was astonished to hear about the children's names.

Fiona, who has worked with the organisation for 28 years, described the phenomenon as "unique".

"I have worked across many, many countries in my time as an aid worker, but I have never heard of anything like this before," she said.

"I have come across cases where mothers have named their children after someone or something that has played a significant role in the birth of their child, but to find 35 kids all called ‘Goal’ in one camp is quite unique."

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