Supporting half a million people in Darfur

By |7 July 2011|

Community centres are drawing in more displaced people in Darfur, giving them stronger bonds while also teaching them practical skills as many enter their eighth year of living in relief camps. Although Darfur has all but disappeared from the headlines, fighting worsened in 2010, with an additional 250,000 people displaced from their homes. In the Bilel camp, building and welding is taught at the community centre. David Kat, the Adult Education Officer there says the skills are taken back into the camp and shared: “The men become trainers themselves. They can also try for jobs in town and look beyond the narrow confines of the camp.” In 2010, Caritas Internationalis provided half million people with assistance, working in cooperation with the Action by Churches Together (ACT), an alliance of Protestant and Orthodox Christian agencies. Since 2004, Caritas and its partners have raised $90 million for the people of Darfur. Caritas member [...]

South Sudan: Preparing for independence

By |7 July 2011|

By Kim Pozniak When I arrived in South Sudan’s future capital Juba yesterday, the joyous preparations for independence were immediately apparent. Landing at the airport, another passenger pointed out the newly installed lights along the runway to allow for night flights. Everywhere you look there are small signs of progress. Driving along Juba’s bumpy, dusty roads, you see women cleaning the streets. Signs for the long expected independence have been put up along small storefronts, on crumbling walls and white washed tree trunks. Spending my first day in Juba, I spoke with many people about their hopes and dreams for the new nation. I want to tell you about two of them. Taban Benneth, 25, works as a driver for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and plans to see the celebrations firsthand so he can tell his children and grandchildren that he was there when the flag was raised for the first time. “I’m really happy [...]

Southern Sudan votes for peace

By |7 July 2011|

Fighting in southern Sudan only ended five years ago after more than three decades of war. Many people knew only conflict. “ We have to work at all levels and across all areas to build a sustainable peace,” says Paul Nantulya, an expert in peacebuilding in southern Sudan with one of the American Caritas members, CRS. “ The churches are the peacebuilding architecture on which everything rests in southern Sudan; they have deep institutional memory, knowledge and skills. We have built ‘people-to-people’ diplomacy and discussion from the grassroots, to the military, to the top political leadership. Crucially, we have invested in giving people training and livelihoods, which makes them less likely to pick up a gun again.” Duku Martin John was one of many young men who had known nothing but war. Now he’s the host of “One People”, a radio show about reconciliation which is supported by the Sudan Catholic [...]

Delivering help in Sudan

By |6 July 2011|

Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, was in Agok as part of the Caritas response in Sudan that supports  more than 100,000 people forced from their homes by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei. CRS is a Caritas member. The situation here in Agok is still very fluid. It’s been a few weeks since their displacement from Abyei, and you still see people coming and going. Some are leaving to go further south while others are arriving because they’ve heard from the government that it is safe to return. This is the planting season, so people are trying to make decisions about what they’re going to do over the next few months for food. It is important to them to be able to get seeds into the ground to harvest crops in the coming months. Their very livelihoods are in jeopardy. Markets here continue to be bare. [...]

Taking the long view in Sudan

By |6 July 2011|

Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, was in Agok as part of the Caritas response in Sudan that supports  more than 100,000 people forced from their homes by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei. CRS is a Caritas member. One thing that has become apparent to me while working to meet the needs of those displaced from Abyei is that the Church’s presence really is a symbol of hope. A few Sundays ago during Mass, local parish priest, Fr. Biong gave a speech about helping people to rebuild their lives and the need for continued support during this difficult time. This is such an important message for everyone to hear: the displaced, host communities, and those working to help meet their needs. Priests like Fr. Biong help people to feel that they have not been abandoned. He continues to be with his people seeking refuge in Agok, [...]

Darfur stories: Changing lives in 2011

By |1 July 2011|

  Life and hope for Fatima  Fatima is a 35-year-old mother of six and from the Fur tribe in Darfur. She fled her home in Jebel Marra in 2004 when fighting flared up in the area. Her father, husband, two brothers and her mother-in-law died in the conflict. Fatima headed to Nertiti, but they were attacked again before they arrived. Eventually they reached their destination, homeless and without hope. She received some food from people who already lived in the camp and she used her cloak to provide shelter for her children. Then the rains started and there was no one to look after them. She had never thought that this would one day have been her destiny. No shelter to protect her children from the sun, heat and rain. No a jerry can to bring water. She decided to go to Hassa Hissa camp in Zalingei where her relatives lived. [...]

Health, clean water and food in Darfur [Gallery]

By |1 July 2011|

Caritas Internationalis supports over half a million people in Darfur with Act International, the alliance of Protestant and Orthodox aid agencies. Caritas programmes provide clean water, shelter, livelihoods, health and a sense of community to people traumatized by conflict.
  • Smoke rise from burnt homes in Abyei town, in this handout photo released by the United Nations Mission in Sudan May 23, 2011.

Credits: REUTERS/Stuart Price courtesy of AlertNet.org
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    Urgent protection of civilians in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains needed as conflict grows

Urgent protection of civilians in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains needed as conflict grows

By |24 June 2011|

Caritas Internationalis says separate conflicts in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains and Abyei risks spiralling into a full-blown major humanitarian emergency. A humanitarian crisis is already taking place in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan region, which includes the Nuba Mountains. Clashes between government troops and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM / North) rebel fighters in Southern Kordofan have forced nearly 113,000 people from their homes. These people are desperately in need of food, shelter and healthcare. Many have fled to nearby towns and villages and others are hiding in the mountains. Insecurity and restrictions on access is preventing international humanitarian agencies from working in the area. Property has been set on fire, aid offices vandalized and churches destroyed. Reports of sectarian and arbitrary killing of civilians need to be properly investigated. Heavy military confrontations including aerial bombardment of populated areas are killing and injuring civilians. All sides are obliged under the Geneva Conventions to protect [...]

Prayer and Novena for Republic of South Sudan

By |22 June 2011|

Novena for South Sudan South Sudan emerges as a new nation on 9 July 2011. The Catholic Church in Sudan is inviting all people of goodwill to take part in nine days of prayer for the future of the new state. This novena begins on  June 29, 2011 and ends on July 7, 2011. Day One: Dignity of the Human Person Day Two: Common Good Day Three: Rights and Responsibilities Day Four: Preferential Option for the Poor Day Five: Solidarity Day Six: Integrity of Creation Day Seven: Reconciliation Day Eight: Subsidiarity or Participatory Government Day Nine: Peace Prayer for Republic of South Sudan God of Mercies, We thank you for your great love for us. We ask you to guide all our leaders in the process of nation building. Grant them your wisdom, compassion and fortitude. Loving God, give us courage to reject ethnic resentment as well as ethnic conflicts. Through the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, help us to overcome hurt, hostility and bitterness in our hearts so that we become [...]

Sudan bishop urges immediate end to conflict in Sudan

By |15 June 2011|

Over 60,000 people have been forced from their homes by fighting in South Kordofan, in the border region between north Sudan and soon to be formed Republic of South Sudan. Caritas fears a humanitarian crisis is rapidly developing due to the conflict and a lack of access to the affected population by the humanitarian community. Coadjutor Bishop Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria of El Obeid, whose diocese covers the worst hit areas, says people have been fleeing from the fighting, trying to escape the conflict if they can. Bishop Didi said, “The war must end immediately. There is great suffering among the people. The international community must do all it can to support a return to a negotiated peace settlement.” More than 70 percent of the population of Kadugli has fled as the city has become engulfed in heavy fighting including aerial bombardment. Over 27,000 people from Kadugli have fled to Kauda, but [...]

Compassion in action in southern Sudan

By |11 June 2011|

Andy Schaefer, CRS technical adviser for emergency coordination, is in Agok, Sudan working to assist some of the more than 90,000 people displaced by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei, Sudan. CRS is a Caritas member. He shares with us his impressions from the field. Whenever a person responds to an emergency situation you have to face the grief and loss of those affected. There is so much work to be done and so many people who need assistance. It is also in these moments that you see the real face of humanity and the deep compassion people can show to their fellow man. I’ve seen two such examples since arriving to the Agok area of Sudan. Agok is a town that used to number about ten thousand but has recently swelled to the tens of thousands since conflict broke out in the neighboring town of Abyei. The [...]

Conflict in southern Sudan drives people from Abyei

By |11 June 2011|

Andy Schaefer, CRS (Catholic Relied Services is a Caritas member) technical adviser  for emergency coordination, is in Agok, Sudan working to assist some of the more than 90,000 people displaced by recent violence in the contested border area of Abyei, Sudan. After an eleven hour journey by plane and car, the CRS team arrives in Agok. As we drove we passed blossoming trees, cattle, goats, and sometimes people walking along the road and carrying whatever belongings they could salvage. Some carried mattresses while others escaped only with the clothes they had on their backs. The closer we got to Agok, on the second leg of our trip, the more people we saw on the roads. Makeshift camps covered the town. Every available space was filled with people. Storefront verandas teemed with sleeping children and women nursing babies. There was no privacy. Whatever items they owned lay at their feet: a [...]

Live chat with bishop from southern Sudan

By |10 June 2011|

The first miracle in Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala’s life happened when he was just a few months old. During a military raid on his village in southern Sudan, soldiers entered his family’s house and killed his mother and sister. They left baby Eduardo unharmed and didn’t burn down the house. Now, 47 years later, he is the Bishop of the Diocese of Tombura-Yambi, and he continues to devote his life to bringing peace to Sudan and to South Sudan which becomes an independent nation on 9 July. Caritas member Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will be hosting a live chat with Bishop Kussala Stay with Sudan. Build a future on Wednesday, June 15 at 1 p.m. eastern time in the United States. Bishop Kussala will answer your questions about his life, the current situation in Sudan and his vision for the future of a new nation. Find out how to join in with the [...]
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    Pentecost celebrations in run up to South Sudan independence

Pentecost celebrations in run up to South Sudan independence

By |7 June 2011|

As part of programme of prayer and activities leading upto the independence for South Sudan on 9 July, the Sudanese Catholic Church will be blessing and planting trees of life to mark Pentecost this Sunday 12 June. Each diocese will plant a tree as a symbol of new birth. From Sunday until independence day, families, institutions, schools and parishes are being encouraged to plant trees. The Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference in South Sudan says, "We, as the people of South Sudan symbolically plant trees throughout our new country. Some of these trees will produce medicine, a sign of healing from trauma and war; some of the trees will give fruit, signs of hope and promise. "As we plant these trees, we ask God to bless us and all of creation." Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio has been helping to organise the initiative. He said, "The planting of trees is very meaningful, trees have life [...]

Sudan: Be calm but vigilant…

By |7 April 2011|

Statement from the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference Be calm but vigilant… (1 Peter 5:8) 7th April 2011 We the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, gathered in Extraordinary Plenary assembly in Juba, South Sudan, from 1st – 7th April 2011, have prayed and reflected together on the situation in our beloved Sudan. Mindful of our responsibility as prophets and shepherds at this crucial time, we offer you these words of encouragement and advice during the Season of Lent as we anticipate the Easter Joy of the Resurrection. In a previous statement, we said, Sudan will never be the same again. This has come to pass in the most concrete way, as we await the formal Declaration of Independence of the South and the formation of two new countries on 9th July 2011. However it is also true in a deeper way. The people of the South have had the opportunity to determine […]

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