Holding onto hope: Sudanese youth continue to resist

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Before war broke out, young activists often gathered at SWRC’s facility to learn together, as pictured here. After the war began, the offices were bombed. Credit: SWRC

When the shooting started in Khartoum, Ghadir focused on one thing: getting herself and others somewhere safe. She fled her home, leaving everything behind, and managed to cross the border into Egypt. 

“At the beginning, we had no time to even think about what's coming next,” she said. It was just about survival.

In a way, Ghadir’s job is to concentrate on what comes next – she helps nurture Sudan's next generation of activists, especially young women and girls. As a coordinator with Inter Pares’ counterpart SWRC (pronounced “source”), she works with networks of youth to build their skills, knowledge and confidence to take part in social justice movements. With SWRC’s support, these activists fight for women’s rights and gender justice, and peace and democracy. 

When the war started and she and her colleagues were forced to leave Khartoum, the organization lost touch with its network of youth activists. 

“The main challenge is losing everything and having to start all this over again,” Ghadir told us from Cairo. The war has also meant SWRC stopped having access to support from its funders. “We’re used to having limited resources,” but this is a new low, she added.

“But my situation is better than a lot of other Sudanese women who are still inside Sudan. At least I made it to safety,” said Ghadir. “I feel obligated to work for them while I can.”

And that is what she is doing. As the violence in Sudan continues, Ghadir is already organizing SWRC’s next steps. 

One big hurdle to overcome: communication. SWRC’s network is now spread across Sudan, eastern Africa and beyond. To reconnect activists, Ghadir is developing a virtual communications hub – a workspace that isn't restricted by geographical borders. The platform will support the exchange of ideas and information among the dispersed activists in a secure way. It will also mean they can continue the work the war interrupted: providing training for young women, advocating for women’s rights and supporting women with disabilities, people in the LGBTQI+ community and sex workers.

Ghadir says Sudanese youth still have hope for the future.  

“They don't want to lose what they had before the war and what they gained during the revolution. They are refusing to let go of all of that,” she says. “For me, myself, I still feel there is a need for people to resist no matter what happens as long as we live.”

The main challenge is losing everything and having to start all this over again.

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