Nearly 40 South Sudanese students who went to Cuba and Zimbabwe for higher education say they are stuck in those countries with no money for food, transportation or a plane ticket home.

A South Sudanese Education Ministry official blamed the Finance Ministry for failing to release funds to cover the students’ stipends and arrears to universities, but a Finance Ministry official insisted the students are not on government scholarships.

Twenty-eight South Sudanese students are stranded in Zimbabwe and 11 more are stuck in Cuba. Some of the students graduated in July 2019 while others graduated in July of this year.

In Cuba

Nuer Deng Deng, who graduated with a medical degree from Cuba’s University of Medical Sciences in Pinar del Río last year, says he and other South Sudanese students are barely getting by.

“Our situation is very hard because here in Cuba we don’t have an embassy, we don’t have what [food] to eat, we don’t have money, our family cannot send us money, we don’t have money for transport,” Deng told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.