It is not often that you get the chance to witness the birth of a nation. In June 2011, I got that chance in South Sudan. Together with photographer Simon Murphy, I visited returnee camps, remote villages and a leprosy colony. I spoke to landmine victims, single teenage mums-to-be and journalists fighting for media freedom.

The stories I wrote during my travels were circulated through the INSP News Service. Articles were also published by more than fifty publications in twenty countries, including Brazil, Burundi, South Korea, Germany, Canada and the UK. Online media including Al Jazeera also featured some of my work.

Disclaimer: the travel costs for this trip were paid for by Scottish aid agency SCIAF and various of their local charity partners hosted us on the ground. All material has been independently produced and the charity had no control over the editorial output.

A child in the village of Mundri, South Sudan. Photo: Danielle Batist

A child in a village near Mundri, South Sudan. Photo: Danielle Batist