Malia's story

Malia plays with her friends at their family home. Like any six-year-old, she’s inquisitive, energetic and full of fun. Until recently, however, Malia was unable to walk.

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Rina, Malia’s mother received help for her daughter from SCIAF’s local partner organisation in South Sudan, which specialises in helping people with disabilities. Malia underwent physiotherapy to work through the steps that would help her to sit, stand and eventually walk.

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I am happy they helped me and I would love them to help others.


She is now able to able fully participate in everyday activities and walk independently, without an aid.

When Malia was born she suffered from excess fluid in her brain and needed urgent surgery to drain it. The excess fluids had caused delay in development, and she was unable to hold her head or sit and stand by herself. She eventually had surgery.

Her family is extremely poor, having been through years of conflict and subsequent and displacement and could not afford the follow up medical care she needed.

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Many people warned me that my daughter would eventually die, but I had trust that my child would be ok. I love her very much.


For years, Rina carried her daughter everywhere. When the fighting escalated, she gathered her young children and fled to safety in the forest, with Malia strapped to her back.

I was alone with my children. There was nothing to eat and we were cold, wet and hungry. We survived on wild fruits and leaves and sometimes went without food for days.

When she was too tired, they would rest until they had to move again.

It was tough. I would carry Malia around on my back. She couldn’t even sit up. I am very grateful for the help we have received.