Wau, South Sudan
Irish Jesuit Missions urgently needs your help to provide food, shelter and clean water to people affected by the conflict in South Sudan. Many civilians have been killed and the ones who have run from their homes to escape the violence and find food are struggling to survive.
St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in Wau overlooks an IDP camp that is currently home to between 8,000 and 10,000 people. The occupants of the camp are traumatised by the ongoing conflict, and are hungry and malnourished. They need food, clean water and shelter.
A project supported by Irish Jesuit Missions is striving to meet the needs of its occupants. It will provide food to a number of displaced families, giving them a reliable source of nourishment as well as erect tents in the camp to give people shelter from the searing heat of the sun. Good hygiene is crucial to prevent the spread of diseases like cholera throughout the camp, and the project will provide a clean water supply and soap so that people can wash, and chlorine tablets to sanitise the drinking water. Help to feed a starving family today.
Over 3.5 million people have fled their homes since the fighting began. Of these, 1.5 million have left the country to find refuge in neighbouring Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. A further 2 million are displaced within the country. More than half of these are children.
One effect of the mass displacement of people across South Sudan is an escalating food shortage. With so many people far from their homes or unable to get to their fields to plant or harvest crops because of a fear of attack, food production has been severely disrupted.
Transportation of food is difficult due to a lack of roads and other infrastructure. Food markets are almost bare, and rising inflation means few people can afford to pay for the soaring food prices for what little there is. Last year the expected seasonal rainfall did not come, dealing another blow to the dwindling food supply.
IDP camps offer relative safety from the violence but they are not designed to accommodate so many people for this long. They offer shelter, and the chance of receiving food and water and medical attention. With no end to the violence in sight, resources in the camps are strained. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, inadequate waste disposal and disease are challenges for the inhabitants as well as aid organisations.
Education and Training
In addition to the immediate survival needs of food, water and basic hygiene, what the people in the camps need is hope that they can return to having a normal life. The cycle of violence is exacerbated by low levels of literacy among the population, a lack of purpose among young people who see no hope for themselves and are easy targets for recruiters for armed gangs.
Education can provide opportunities for these young people, giving them the knowledge and skills to make better decisions. In a country where two thirds of people are illiterate, education and training can increase a young person’s confidence and ability to find ways to support themselves without resorting to crime and violence.
The project will provide schooling for displaced children in the camp, and will also run training workshops for young adults to teach them how to establish and run a micro-business, like baking and selling bread to create a sustainable livelihood.
The Need for Hope
The vision and aim of the project is to intervene in the cycle of poverty, hunger and violence. What people in these camps need is hope for their future and the tools to create a normal and life away from the chaos and upheaval that the conflict has caused.
Jesuits have been in Wau, South Sudan since 1982 working with and supporting local communities. We will continue to walk in solidarity with the people of this region by empowering them to generate income to sustain themselves, and to enable them to step out of the cycle of violence and destruction that is causing such suffering in this young country.