After a long period of civil war with the North of Sudan, in 2005 the peace agreements are signed. Following the popular referendum of 9 January 2011, 98% of the population had voted for independence, which will be proclaimed with great celebration on 9 July 2011.

Thus was born the 54th African State, called SOUTH SUDAN.

Juba (capital of present-day South Sudan) is the first city in which OVCI has started its interventions in favour of children with disabilities. In 1983 in what was then Sudan, OVCI responded to the request of Monsignor Baroni (then Bishop of Khartoum) to care for children with disabilities,  building the first USRATUNA Multi-purpose Pediatric Center (Our Family in Arabic), where children with disabilities could receive rehabilitation and basic education assistance.

In May 1983, shortly after the arrival of the volunteers in Juba, the second phase of the war against the Sudanese government by the South Sudan Liberation Army (SPLA) broke out, resulting in a reduction in activities.

Due to the precarious health conditions, in 1989 - to the purely rehabilitative activities of the Center - OVCI also starts a Pediatric Dispensary.

In January 1990, the Italian Embassy evacuated all lay volunteers.

Between 1990 and 1992, the civil war between the North and the South of the country forced the Organization to temporarily suspend the socio-rehabilitative activities of the Usratuna Center, welcoming more than three thousand people of different ethnic groups, giving rise to a series of activities directed to basic health, which have never been interrupted - even during the harshest periods of the ongoing civil war in South Sudan.
Throughout this period, thanks to some volunteers who had moved to Khartoum, OVCI continued to support the local staff through sporadic on-site visits (when it was possible to obtain permits from the Sudanese authorities) and by sending emergency aid. OVCI was the only NGO left in South Sudan after the evacuation of all the Humanitarian Associations operating there.

Finally, with the signing of the peace treaty in 2005, OVCI was able to continue with the programs provided by the projects activated and with new interventions aimed at children with disabilities, in collaboration with the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba - our local counterpart.

In 2007, the socio-rehabilitative section is enriched with a reference system of children at the CoRSU Hospital in Kampala and the Cure Hospital in Mbale in Uganda (with which OVCI has drawn up special conventions) to carry out plastic surgery, orthopedics and neurosurgery. Surgeries still not feasible in South Sudan.

In addition, a Programme is launched on Community Based Inclusive Development to reach even the most remote families. Today OVCI covers Juba town, the districts of Munuki and Kator.

Recognizing the great experience of OVCI in the field of rehabilitation, its 28 years of presence in the country, as well as the formative experience with the Afhad University of Khartoum (Sudan), the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Government of South Sudan has asked the body to devote itself to the reconstitution and post-war development of the social health and educational system of its territory.

Within the grounds of St. Mary’s College (located near the Usratuna Compound), in March 2009 was inaugurated and started the first degree course in Rehabilitation Sciences and on 2 October 2014 received the Ministerial Decree of recognition by the Minister of Education.

In addition to the continuous resurgence of some outbreaks of conflict on the border with Sudan, on 13 December 2013 an attempted coup d'état created a violent rift within the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) which triggered more years of civil war in several Federated states in the country.

In 2015, the Government of South Sudan ratified the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

At the end of the 5 years since independence of South Sudan, on 11 July 2016, there were further serious clashes in Juba, which forced Riek Machar, Vice President of South Sudan and leader of the SPLM faction "In Opposition", fleeing the capital and finding refuge in neighboring countries. OVCI expatriate personnel were evacuated for more than a month, because the conditions of the capital did not allow a safe stay.

The following commitments are currently in place:

  • Management Center Usratuna: Rehabilitation Center Usratuna (Social Assistance Service, Physiotherapy -with attached submissions of patients in Uganda for surgery- Speech therapy), Pre-school Service, Nutritional Program and Dispensary, Epilepsy Service, Orthopedic Workshop.
  • The reference for children at the CoRSU Hospital in Kampala and the Cure Hospital in Mbale (Uganda) for plastic surgery, orthopaedics and neurosurgery.
  • There is also a research project on the diagnosis and treatment of Nodding Syndrome, a very serious disabling disease, present only in some areas of East Africa, characterized by epilepsy and cognitive disability. The children with this neurological pathology are followed at the dispensary of Juba by local operators supervised by the experts of the Italian Scientific Institute E. Medea.




  • Emergency health commitment: interventions in the IDP refugee camps in Juba through the Mobile Clinic that offers basic health services, both for the distribution of medicines, for nursing services and for patients who are visited and who present particular diseases to the health services concerned.  It is an essential service, especially for the most vulnerable sections of the population (women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities)Because it’s the only service active in the entire state of Jubek, and it allows you to reach a slice of the population that would otherwise not have access to first-aid care.


  • Inclusive Community-Based Development Program-CBID (formerly called Community-Based Rehabilitation-CBR), based on 5 components: health, educational, social, livelihood, empowerment-sustainability. The rehabilitation program is carried out in three municipalities of the city of Juba: Kator, Munuki and Juba Town, as well as involving some IDP Camp.


  • University Training: Mary’s College: continuing the training of physiotherapists, while the degree course for teachers is run by AVSI and is in the same compound. An official meeting with the Minister of Health made it possible to recognize officially the figure of the Physiotherapist among the health professions in South Sudan, paving the way for the establishment of a special Committee that defines its role in the Social Planshealth care in the country.









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via don Luigi Monza 1 - 22037 Ponte Lambro (CO)
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