December 20, 2010

Sudan votes

By |20 December 2010|

Southern Sudan went to the polls 9 January 2011 to decide on self-determination. Caritas prays the outcome will be peace and development for all Sudanese.Follow the elections with our staff in Juba on the Caritas blog.A resolution could be as good for Sudan as the election of Nelson Mandela was for South Africa, or it could trigger violence and be as dire as Rwanda in the 1990's. Caritas has been working with the people of Sudan to ensure that communities are prepared for both eventualities. NEW HOPE - VOICES FOR PEACESouthern Sudan decides its own future in referenda on whether to remain within a unified Sudan or to secede... CARITAS BEING PREPARED Caritas staff have been making preparations within the country they hope can save lives... PHOTO GALLERY Staff of CRS (Caritas member in North America) take photos from Caritas projects in Sudan... RADIO NATION  Sudan Catholic Radio Network will transmit crucial election information across seven dioceses [...]
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    Fighting increases in Darfur as Caritas aid reaches half a million people

Fighting increases in Darfur as Caritas aid reaches half a million people

By |15 December 2010|

Sudan’s Darfur region is witnessing an upsurge in violence. A quarter of a million people were forced from their homes in 2010. Millions more already live in camps in a crisis with no obvious resolution. [View our photo gallery from Caritas projects in Darfur] Caritas provided food, clean water, healthcare, peacebuilding and skills training to half a million people in camps and host communities in South and West Darfur in 2010 as part of an ecumenical programme with the Protestant and Orthodox ACT Alliance. [Read how Caritas aid is being used in Darfur] Caritas saw an increase in the number of people in need of help with doubling of new people requiring its humanitarian services. At the same time, aid efforts became more difficult as a result of insecurity and was mainly restricted to camps. The $11 million 2011 Darfur programme plans to increase the number of people it reaches to 530,000 [...]

November 15, 2010

Sudanese bishops: war is not inevitable

By |15 November 2010|

Leaders of Sudan’s Catholic Church believe peace is still possible in Sudan as the country faces a vote on independence in the south many fear will lead to renewed conflict. Southern Sudanese started registering Monday for the poll on 9 January 2011. The disputed oil-producing Abyei region is due to hold a simultaneous plebiscite on whether to join the south or the north. Preparations for voting are behind schedule and there has been a build up of troops on the border between north and south. The Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference held its Plenary Assembly in Rumbek, southern Sudan from 8-15 November. The bishops said, “We are acutely aware of the uncertainty, fear and even despair that burden the people of Sudan... However these tensions need not and should not lead to war. Regardless of the choices made and the lines drawn, peace is possible.” The bishops called for a “free and fair” vote, saying [...]

October 12, 2010

Sudanese church leaders raise fears of war

By |12 October 2010|

Sudanese church leaders fear war if people in the south are unable to vote on their independence early next year. An ecumenical delegation raised the alarm during a meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 11 October at the United Nations in New York as part of a week-long advocacy trip. Southern Sudan goes to the polls on 9 January to decide on the right to self-determination under provisions of a peace deal between the government in the north and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the south, and guaranteed by the UN. The church leaders fear that the referendum will be disputed, leading to renewed conflict between north and south. They urge the international community to be prepared in case this happens, especially for the large movement of people. More than two million people were killed and seven million people were forced from their homes during the 21-year civil [...]

101 days of prayer for Sudan

By |4 October 2010|

Africa could get a new country in 2011; or an old country could be torn apart by strife. On January 9th, up to eight million Sudanese in the south could vote to decide whether to stay united with the north or to secede and become independent. View photo gallery of Sudan in the run up to the referendum 2011 The south is slowly being rebuilt after decades of war ended in 2005. People who fled came back to their destroyed houses and their lands. Many of these people are hoping for a new country as the next step in the long road to peace. But peace is fragile, with reports of conflict throughout the south. If war returns, the outcome could be disastrous for the lives of millions. Caritas thinks that if people have the instruments for peace then they will take that path rather than one of violence. In the run up to [...]

June 25, 2010

Conflict in Sudan: How Elvira Raphael serves her community

By |25 June 2010|

I have five children and live in Naandi with my mum. I came here to Tombura town for two weeks of training. I wanted to train as a pump mechanic to help my community. I was selected and I was happy to be chosen. My mum didn’t say much, but she’s okay with it. Eighteen people are being trained, four are women. Even being a woman I can do this work. The men accepted us. The training is not hard. I can read and write a bit in Zande language because I reached class three of primary school. I like the practical work best. I like to unscrew the screws and remove the pipes. Before training as a pump mechanic I was just farming. When we go back to our villages, we will be volunteers, and if there is a broken borehole, we can fix it. There are broken boreholes in [...]
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    Conflict in Sudan: Lina Ngbadeegbe lost four family members in exile

Conflict in Sudan: Lina Ngbadeegbe lost four family members in exile

By |25 June 2010|

“I live in Nazerete, an area in Tombura town. It has been four years since we came here from Central Africa where I was a refugee. I left in 1990 because of the war. We went by foot, it took two weeks. My husband died from a disease in exile. Some of my daughters died, too. I came back with one son and one daughter, and then my daughter also passed away. We found it difficult in exile, there was no way to earn a living, and I lost four family members. Then I heard that there was peace, so I came back. When I returned home to Sudan I felt happy because this is the place I was born in. Before we were getting water from a borehole nearby, but now it doesn’t work anymore and I have to go very far to a spring which is hard for [...]
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    Conflict in Sudan: John Bakoyego, a teenager who escaped abduction

Conflict in Sudan: John Bakoyego, a teenager who escaped abduction

By |25 June 2010|

That day, I was sent to the village with my uncle. When we reached it, we didn’t see anyone. But the LRA were sitting under the granary watching. My uncle saw them but didn’t say anything, and he started to run, but he ran in the wrong direction. I ran too. They caught him and I managed to escape because their attention was on catching him. They were kicking him down, he was crying, and when I was running I could still hear his cries. He was 12 years old. I was afraid I would also be arrested. I ran into the bush, the LRA still following me, but I was running faster. I ran past a place where we had hidden some items in the bush in case of an LRA attack – a jerrycan, plates and saucepans - and they started to take those items and forgot about [...]

Conflict in Sudan: Taritizio Nzeme son was abducted

By |25 June 2010|

“We were living in Andari. We left because of an attack by the LRA. They first started attacking people in Congo, then attacked Andari and abducted one of my sons. I went to a trading centre and sent two boys to get tobacco for me, but when they arrived home they met LRA at the house. And the LRA abducted my son. He was the only boy captured in the village that day. Right now, he’s still with the LRA. I know because one woman who escaped from them told me she met him and that they cut his arm off. I don’t know now if he’s alive, but I know that he lost his arm. Because he continued trying to alert someone, so they punished him. He’s lucky it was just that and that he was not killed. I feel really bad for him. I don’t think he will [...]

Conflict in South Sudan

By |25 June 2010|

In a major joint project with United Nations and EU agencies, Caritas is providing emergency aid to victims of LRA attacks in Southern Sudan. Around 1.8 million refugees and displaced people returned to their homes in Southern Sudan over the last years as the fighting finally seemed to have come to an end after twenty years of civil war. Many people had been away from home all those years. Just as they were returning however, inter-tribal violence and attacks from the Ugandan rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) sparked off again, killing an estimated 250 people. Around 100,000 people had to flee their homes once more in 2009. Caritas is providing 400,000 euro to help 5,000 households in the Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, Western Equatoria. The aid  includes paying the salaries of support staff for water, sanitation and hygiene activities, peace building projects and distributions of seeds, tools, household kits and food.  [...]

Earning a living in Darfur

By |23 June 2010|

Caritas Internationalis works in Darfur in cooperation with Action by Churches Together (ACT) helping 350,000 people, including 240,000 who have lost their homes. The implementing partner, Norwegian Church Aid, has two national Sudanese partners, the Sudan Council of Churches and Sudanaid (Caritas Sudan). Miriam is a tailoring teacher in Bilel Camp, one of Darfur’s relief camps. It is home to over 30,000 Sudanese who have fled violence. This is her story. “My family came to Bilel Camp because of the fighting. It is still not safe for us to return. I come from Kukuja village which is only about 5 km from here. My husband and 10 children have been here with me for six years now. “Back in my village, I was taught tailoring skills by my mother when I was very young.When I arrived in Bilel, after the community centre was established, they asked me if I would become a [...]

It’s difficult to talk about AIDS in Darfur

By |14 June 2010|

By Edwyn Shiell, Act for Peace - Campaigns & Communication Coordinator “It’s difficult to talk about HIV and AIDS in Darfur. You can’t really talk about it openly in the camps”, says Gloria Gwoka Nakoboji, the HIV/AIDS Project Officer for the Sudan Council of Churches - SCC (A Caritas partner) in Nyala, Darfur. Estimates of people infected with HIV vary greatly across Sudan and in Darfur many people would go as far as to question the existence of diseases in general let alone AIDS. There are deep seeded cultural perceptions of AIDS in the Internally Displaced People’s camps and the SCC continues its innovative work through community networks, campaigns and education in order to counter these perceptions and prevent the spread of the virus. This challenging context provides a variety of dilemmas for the confident and creative workers that have made the project such a success with communities in South Darfur. Gloria said, "Most [...]

Improving hygiene and sanitation in Darfur

By |14 June 2010|

By Edwyn Shiell, Act for Peace - Campaigns & Communication Coordinator The Norwegian Church Aid (a Caritas partner) Water and Sanitation facility in Bilel Camp is a humble thatched building. At the entrance are a series of heart shaped flower boxes made from red brick which bring the surrounding dry desert ground to life. On entering the facility, the cool shade provides a refuge from the blistering heat of the dry day. Adorning the stick walls are hand drawn pictures which depict safe, hygienic practices. A group of ‘Hygiene and Sanitation’ workers led by Osman Haroun, huddle into the small building and spend a few minutes discussing their roles of educating the people in Bilel camp with hygiene messages. One if the workers, Jawaher Ahmad Ibrahim, said, “My weeks are like this. I have 3 days for home visits in the camps for hygiene promotion. This is normally with the women and children [...]

Educators in Darfur discuss ways forward

By |14 June 2010|

By Edwyn Shiell, Act for Peace - Campaigns & Communication Coordinator Since the expulsion of 13 International non- government agencies in March 2009 the ACT-Caritas Darfur Programme, implemented by Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and its two National Partners the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) and Sudanaid, have had to deal with the significant gaps in education services in the Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps. Despite the shortage of education facilities in Bilel camp and the insecurity which the workers must face on a daily basis, great strides have been made in delivering adult education. Camp residents are gaining the means to take control of their lives and provide for their families, though the reduced education services are a concern for residents. Ahmed Yacoub Salahaldin the Chairman of Youth in Bilel camp said, “I teach adult education here in the centre. My family however are all at home without anything to do. I [...]

Job skills in Darfur

By |14 June 2010|

By Edwyn Shiell, Act for Peace - Campaigns & Communication Coordinator (Australia) The sense that there is life beyond a state of emergency in the camps is growing in Bilel camp in Darfur. People are becoming involved with the community centres and vocational training is becoming more and more common. Though insecurity is still rife, camp residents are feeling empowered and are involving themselves in the many skills programmes that the joint ACT/Caritas programme implemented by Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and its two national partners the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) and Sudanaid, are offering. Masonry training is one practical skill which the SCC community centre is providing for camp members. David Kat, the Adult Education Officer for the SCC said, “Camp members receive 25 days of masonry training in the community centre. 40 people currently participate, 20 in masonry, 20 in welding. “The skills they learn here are taken back into the [...]

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