Michael Tilian with his son YuanisMichael Tilian with his son Yuanis

Michael Tilian’s eyesight has been deteriorating for five years.
“One of my sons helps me with fishing,” he said. “I show him how to set the nets and hooks and he is learning. We sell some of the fish to buy oil, salt and soaps.”

Michael and his son fish in the swamps close to Nyal town Unity state. They use simple hooks after their net and boat were stolen. The whole family was caught up in fighting when it reached the area last year. 

“The fighting affected us badly because I am old and blind and it was also very hard for the women and the children. We raced into the swamp to escape,” he said. 

“We stayed for two and a half months and lived on water lily roots. The fighters took our goats and our cattle.”

Michael and his family receive World Food Programme food packages every two months, although the supply only lasts for 10 days. 

“You find us alive today because of the help we have received from NGOs – life is difficult but we are alive. We have also received plastic sheets, mosquito nets, soap and fishing nets.”

Christian Aid supports the South Sudanese organisation UNIDO to help people try to recover their incomes. They have distributed fishing equipment, such as nets and hooks, seeds and tools for farming, as well as essential items such as plastic sheets for shelter and buckets for collecting water.