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Update:South Sudan – 21 Jul 2014
Tearfund reports an increase of more than 300 percent in the number of malnourished children and mothers needing food from its six feeding centres in remote communities in Jonglei, one of the country’s worst affected states, compared to this time last year.(1)
People have fled from their villages and have not been able to plant their crops as usual due to the fighting. The harvests in August and November will not provide the usual yields.
The UN estimates that 4 million people are desperately short of food in South Sudan, out of a population of 10.8 million, a figure which could increase to over 7 million by August. An extra one billion dollars is needed to save lives, prevent famine, and stop a generation of children being wiped out by hunger, according to the UN.(2)
Tearfund’s Country Director states “Famine looms in parts of the country, as the conflict rages on and at a time when rains render some areas virtually inaccessible as roads become rivers of mud. The World Food Programme has estimated that more than 50,000 children will die this year due to hunger (3) unless there is an immediate and widespread response.”
Many of the people arriving for the first time at Tearfund’s feeding centres have fled the fighting in Bor and Malakal, flashpoints in the six-month long conflict. Last week, a mother and her five young children arrived at Tearfund’s feeding centre in Motot, having walked more than 100km (60 miles) to escape fierce fighting in Malakal.
Despite last month’s agreement (10th June) to bring South Sudan’s war to an end and to form a unity government within 60 days, fighting continues between the Government and rebel forces. The conflict has brought an estimated 20,000 new people to Uror County, Jonglei state, placing unprecedented strain on local families’ dwindling food reserves.
Please give what you can and join the Irish Church response to the crisis in Sudan.
1) New patient admissions for April 2013 were 216, compared to 710 in April 2014, an increase in over 300%, at feeding centres in Motot, Pieri, Pulchol and Pathai, all in Uror county.
2) UN 2014 South Sudan Crisis Response Plan, 14 June 2014
3) UN 2014 South Sudan Crisis Response Plan, 14 June 2014
South Sudan Crisis Appeal – 27 Jun 2014
Fighting erupted in South Sudan at the end of 2013, between forces loyal to President Salva Kirr, who belongs to the Dinka ethnic group and former Deputy President Riek Machar who belongs to the Lou Nuer. So far the conflict has led to 1.5 million people fleeing their homes, of which 386,000 have left the country for neighbouring nations. Although a ceasefire was signed last month, insecurity has disrupted livelihoods and many face hunger.
Tearfund is responding in South Sudan and is providing emergency latrines and sanitation facilities as well as fixing boreholes and giving hygiene and sanitation awareness training. Tearfund are also running six feeding centres – addressing the urgent needs of malnourished mothers, pregnant women and children under five.
Tearfund is also working with local churches responding to the crisis such as Don Bosco church near the capital Juba. The church is accommodating 100 homeless families on its land who have fled their homes in fear of escalating ethnic violence.
We need your help Our emergency fund is exhausted and without your financial support we will not be able to provide an Irish church response to the imminent crisis in South Sudan.
€18.00 provides essential items to help a family survive in the early days of a crisis
Please give what you can and join the Irish Church response to the crisis in Sudan.
Help us save lives today.
Tearfund welcomes visitors from Malawi – 26 Jun 2014
Mphatso is the Director of LISAP (Livingstonia Synod AIDS Project) and Aaron works as a Project Officer for Tearfund Malawi. Both Mphatso and Aaron work tirelessly to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS in Malawi. Malawi is a country stricken by HIV, 11% of the population are HIV positive, which is roughly 1.1 million people. This is one of the highest in the world. 1.1 million is a huge number and it is difficult to grasp but as Mphatso explained; to her, “it is real people, suffering, struggling, wanting to live”. Mphatso and Aaron work side by side with people living with HIV, young people, children, poor people, whoever is in need of support.
The main thrust of Mphatso and Aaron’s work is the IMPACT project; this programme aims to reduce the transmission of HIV from HIV positive mothers to their unborn babies. Mphatso says that “we have to start with the children in order to have a nation free from HIV” and that is Mphatso’s ultimate aim, for her country to be free from a disease that has already taken so many.
The IMPACT project has been brought about by communities and churches in Malawi and is supported by communities and churches here in Ireland. It is using innovative ways to support people living with HIV as well as preventing further transmission. Read more on this project
LISAP also support vulnerable youths through a vocational skills training school. In Malawi especially in the rural areas, half of the young people have no education. As a result of poverty they cannot afford school fees, Mphatso explained that as young people have no education and no employment they tend to marry early, they then have children. This Mphatso explains, adds to the cycle of poverty as these children will also have no money to go to school and when they are older will find themselves in the same situation and poverty trap as their parents. Many of them will also be left orphaned by AIDS long before that. Many young people are also lured into prostitution in order to earn money to support their families.
Mphatso explained that churches and communities want to help their young people; they want to break this cycle of poverty. As a result LISAP’s vocational skills training school has been replicated in different churches across Malawi so more young people can be offered a way out, a hope for a brighter future, a future free from HIV and the viscous cycle of poverty.
Mphatso and Aaron were just wonderful people to be around, so inspiring and full of energy. Even when we drove them to Limerick and back again in a day and they did not get to their beds until the early hours of the morning, they did not stop giving and sharing their hope and faith to all those around them.
Mphatso and Aaron are an amazing example of people who have dedicated their lives to transforming the lives of others. Mphatso herself has adopted several children who lost their parents to AIDS and she reminds us that we give because Christ gave first and implores all of us;
‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ Galations 6:9
Heart for Haiti – 25 Jun 2014
John and Dina Baciu are members of Open Arms church in Newbridge Co. Kildare. Their church is a connected church through Tearfund with Salem Baptist church in Haiti since the devastating earthquake there in 2010 which left 220,000 dead and doubled the already high number of orphans to 750,000.
John and Dina recently visited Haiti and met some of the children who are going to school because of Open Arms support. They also met some of the mothers.
Image of mothers.
From Left to right Adlin Junues, Adlin is a widow she is not part of the church but appreciates being able to send her children to the afternoon school at Salem Baptist. She has 3 children herself and has adopted a fourth child. Esperanda Leande, is a widow with four children. LeMoine Jean Batiste is a widow with one child and has adopted two other children. She lives in an unfinished part of the church building and cleans the church. Eva Casseus has two children, one she adopted and one she had herself. She gave birth to her child two days before the earthquake in 2010 and needed to jump from the first floor of the hospital to save herself and her child. Clements Mondesir is an active member of the church, she is a widow with one child.
Back home now John and Dina are leading a committee within Open Arms to deepen the ties between the two churches.
Live Below the Line – 14 May 2014
How much do you spend each day on food alone?
Imagine having no choice but to survive on €1.20 per day, for not only food, but transport, education, clothing, health – everything. For the worlds poorest billion people this is their grueling reality.
‘Sunday PM’ – a Christian youth group (with 25-30 secondary school aged young people attending regularly) based in Ballincollig & Carrigrohane is spending the day in their shoes – if they have them – as they eat below the poverty line for the weekend. They do it all as a fundraising and awareness challenge for Tearfund.
‘Live below the line’ is a worldwide challenge aiming to help people understand the lack of choice and opportunity faced by a significant number of people in developing countries across the world, and raise much needed funds to help todays worldwide poor break free from the chains of extreme poverty.
Building without walls – 7 May 2014
Pastor Ate Ching’s church was at the centre of relief efforts in Eastern Samar when Typhoon Haiyan tore through her community – one of the poorest in the Philippines. Supported by Tearfund, her congregation took charge of distributing food, tarpaulins, sheets, pans and mosquito nets and volunteers were trained to provide activities and support for children.
The last few months have taken their toll on Pastor Ate Ching (pictured above). She worked hard and wanted to be strong for her church. ‘I could not cry, that would only make people more anxious.’ She’s been ill recently and realises she too is processing trauma.
But she is determined to continue her ministry as before. As with her old church, the new building will not have walls. She wants passers-by to be able to see what’s going on, hear the worship and engage. She wants God to be seen and heard – not just in the community, but on a Sunday too.