Noelle Fitzpatrick visited the Irish Jesuit Missions office recently to discuss her work as Country Director with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in South Sudan and update us about the recovery from 2019’s devastating floods.
August 2018 saw the Indian state of Kerala endure the worst flooding since 1924. Almost 500 people were killed. Homes, schools and businesses were destroyed leaving many people with no shelter and no livelihood.
Thousands of people, such as this mother and her children, have been forced to seek higher ground. Photo: Jesuit Refugee Service
The response to our emergency appeal for the flooding in South Sudan was overwhelming. Tony O’Riordan SJ and JRS are very grateful for the support.
Devastating flash floods displaced hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan earlier this year, putting lives in danger and cutting people off cut off from food and shelter. The situation is now improving. Your generous donations have helped significantly but the destruction caused by this crisis will not be fully resolved for a long time.
Eoghan Keogh is the Chaplain in Belvedere College. He has run Lenten fundraising and awareness programmes in Belvedere for South Sudan for several years. Events include a sponsored silence for students, in solidarity with the unheard voices of their fellow students of Jesuit schools in less privileged parts of the world, and a five-a-side football tournament called The African Nations.
“I have always been inspired by Jesuits like Pedro Arrupe and the idea that to live an authentic faith life we must be concerned with those who are marginalised or materially poor. Arrupe said "Today's prime educational objective must be to form men and woman for others who cannot even conceive of the love of God which does not include love for the least of our neighbours".
Girls laugh as they hold chalkboard tablets in a primary school in Bunj, South Sudan, sponsored by JRS. (Paul Jeffrey/Misean Cara)
One of our youngest donors, 12-year-old Sarah from Milltown in Dublin, raised money earlier this year for the education of refugee girls in South Sudan.
It is not the first time that Sarah has reached out to help people in need. Her family got to know a family from Syria who arrived in Ireland as refugees. They assisted with getting their children into the same school as Sarah, who helped their son with his school work as he settled into his new life.