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Catherine Groenendijk-Nabukwasi

South Sudan , Class of 2015

Catherine Groenendijk-Nabukwasi

2015 TIP Report

South Sudan

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TIP Award Year:


Founder of Confident Children out of Conflict in South Sudan, she fights against child trafficking and exploitation.

Catherine ("Cathy") Groenendijk-Nabukwasi is no stranger to conflict zones. She worked in several in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including post-genocide Rwanda and portions of Northern Uganda. She was working for an NGO in South Sudan in 2007 when she founder her own organization: Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC). The organization began as a drop-in center for girls who were at-risk or vulnerable to exploitation. It began out of her home, where she allowed girls who were on the streets to come shower, eat, and change their clothes. 

But the organization quickly outgrew Cathy's home. More girls began to come, and it became clear the the girls needed more assistance than they had been able to give. They expanded their drop-in capabilities by acquiring a different community center, began to provide psycho-social support, and increased the amount of meals provided from one to three per day. Cathy began fundraising in 2010 for a shelter where the girls could live, and in 2013 that dream became a reality. The shelter now operates and houses 40 girls between the ages of 3 and 18. At the shelter, the organization provides educational support, counseling, mentoring, health care, and food. The girls are taught a variety of interpersonal skills and vocational skills.

In addition to caring for girls who are at-risk, they care for girls who are survivors of trafficking and reach out to other girls who are being trafficked. Juba's street children are highly at-risk for forced prostitution. They provide care to over 600 other children by helping them with school supplies and paying tuition at schools. They build awareness through programs at schools about human trafficking and gender-based violence. The current civil conflict provides a background for their message and helps to underscore the importance of these issues. Despite the violence and instability, Cathy Groenendijk has relentlessly engaged the government of South Sudan on the issue of human trafficking. In recognition of her incredible efforts, she was named as a Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery in 2015. 

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