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Together for Sudan The Bishop Mubarak Fund

N EWS LE TTER Power to the powerless through education

NOVEMBER 2009

Building peace through service

Dear Friends of Sudan,

People who ask about Together for Sudan’s educational support for women and children usually understand why our field office is in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, but many of them ask “But why are you also working in such an obscure area as the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan?” There are several answers to this question, including that the Nuba Mountains have few trained teachers and very few schools, no electricity grid or community health care and virtually no paved roads. What the Nuba Mountains do have is a tragic recent history which includes absence of education, violation of human rights, abject poverty and 90 percent illiteracy among women. But I need to explain that the Nuba Mountains are very special to me because it was there some 14 years ago that an impoverished mother asked me to send her daughter to university, a request which resulted in the beginning of a work now known as Together for Sudan. There is also in my memory an incident at Delami in January 1996 when emaciated Nuba women cradling sick infants embraced me in the hope that a sister might find some way to help them. As we wept together, I knew that something extraordinary was about to happen to me as well as to them. It did and it is ongoing. Together for Sudan was born in the Nuba Mountains. There are a variety of other answers to “Why the Nuba Mountains?” These include the great desire of Nuba women for education and their enormous suffering during a civil war which lasted from the mid-1980s until ceasefire was agreed in South Kordofan in 2002. But because our first project was university education, we focused on Khartoum where there are universities as well as thousands of displaced Nuba women, among others, in the surrounding squatter settlements. It wasn’t until 2002 that TfS decided to provide scholarships for nonNuba girls and, shortly after that, to open a second office in Kadugli. Then, over the next few years, we were able to provide onsite women’s literacy classes, meals for girls at the Kadugli secondary school, solar lighting panels for clinics and schools, HIV/AIDS awareness training, eye care outreach clinics and teacher training and support which resulted in establishment of at least 30 kindergartens. Meanwhile, similar Together for Sudan work was also expanding in the settlements for internally displaced persons which surround Khartoum. Then came the current international economic recession. There is nothing which separates us from Sudanese women and children except culture, poverty and distance. It is sometimes easy for those of us who live more affluent lives to forget this. But the time to remember and to act has come. Together for Sudan’s work of supporting impoverished, displaced, and deserving people, hundreds of whom are helped by no one else, is critically underfunded and thus threatened with closure. Please help the women of the Nuba Mountains and the displaced women in Darfur and in the Khartoum area by

making a donation in any amount today.

MOHAMED BASHER Pre-School Director Ministry of Education, Kadugli

Yohana Koshadi Samaan Director Saraf Jamous Development Organisation

Magbola Suliman Alehideb Assistant Director Ministry of Education, Kadugli

‘TfS has given priority to pre-school and basic education. We are highly appreciating this endeavour’.

‘The Nuba Mountains communities have been amazed by TfS teacher training and call on you to continue’.

‘The teacher training offered by TfS is indispensable’.

www.togetherforsudan.org

Registered UK Charity No 1075852


WHEN IS GIVING MORE THAN GIVING?

Together for Sudan is working in an area of enormous human need. For well over a decade we have been making a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of people whose needs are not being met by their government or local authorities. Our motto, Power to the Powerless Through Education, means that we listen closely to what women say they need and then set out to provide it. We are working in an area of enormous human deprivation in response to what people in adverse circumstances tell us they need, which is often to learn to read. Through education and encouragement, people who are illiterate or are just too remote, impoverished and marginalized to help themselves, can find their voices and begin to prepare for a better future. It is essential to raise from their isolation those who are dispossessed and to show them that someone cares, that something can be done. HOPE IS CONTAGIOUS. I am reminded of the story of The Old Fire Horse which fascinated me as a child. There was a man who purchased a retired fire horse and then entered his son and the horse in a race. Most people thought the old horse would be lucky to make it to the finish line. But then something wonderful happened. As the boy and horse drifted along in last place, a great noise arose on the road adjacent to the race course and, bells clanging, a fire engine drawn by several horses, rushed by. At that point, the old horse got the message. Inspired by the alarm bells, the retired fire horse put his heart into it and won the race.

What I hope to convey to you is the need to raise an alarm, a hue and cry, a rallying call for justice and humanity. For almost a decade and a half Together for Sudan has trotted along at an even pace, our work expanding steadily until the present international financial downturn began approximately a year ago. Over the next several months as our expenses began to exceed our income and as many corporate donors pulled back, committed individuals have responded with all their hearts. I recall this now to ask you to join them. Among these “fire horse� individuals are a retired Sudanese-British doctor who has rallied his friends to donate, a TfS Trustee who ran a marathon and a young British woman who ran a half marathon to benefit TfS, a pensioner in Scotland who has increased his usual donation, friends of Together for Sudan who have dipped into their savings and friends who have held coffee mornings. Please help Together for Sudan help Sudanese women and children stay in the race for education which can change their lives.

Together for Sudan Trustees met in London in early October to consider our financial crisis: From left: Herman Bell, Alan Goulty, Lillian Craig Harris, Desmond Bermingham, Norman Swanney, Carol Part. Not pictured: Rosalind Marsden and Adrian Thomas.


W H AT W E D O . . .

EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS: “Power to the Powerless Through Education”

Sudan women from several areas of Sudan attend a TfS training workshop outside Khartoum.

*University Scholarships: To date TfS has 171 graduates and this year supports 187 young women at Sudanese universities. *Women Literacy Project: TfS has enabled some 2,500 women to become literate. Sadly this project is currently inactive due to lack of funding.

*Teacher Training and Support: Working through self-help basic schools for displaced and marginalized people, TfS has provided training to some 750 teachers representing 50 schools. Until 2008 we were paying basic salaries to teachers in ten self help schools which otherwise risked closing. This work, too, is currently critically underfunded.

*HIV/AIDS affected children: Some 130 children who would otherwise not have been in school were sponsored in basic and secondary school in 2008-9 and we are able to continue this through the 2009-10 academic year. *Vocational Training: Under a new project which began in 2008, TfS provided 10 scholarships for young men. This is our first educational support to young men and we hope to continue this project to help the husbands and fathers of Sudan’s future.

EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT PROJECTS: “Building Peace Through Service”

*Solar lighting panels for schools, clinics and community centres. We recently refocused this project on the Kadugli area where 13 panels have been installed at schools, community centres and clinics. The panels are mainly used for study and meetings after dark.

*Eye Care Outreach. This internationally praised project operates in both Khartoum and Kadugli areas under direction of a Sudanese ophthalmologist. From its beginning in 2002 it has carried out 122 outreaches each followed up by requisite surgeries and appropriate eye glasses. *HIV/AIDS Awareness Outreach. Trained volunteers working in the settlements for displaced people outside Khartoum have carried out 555 outreaches involving some 53,820 people since this life saving project began in 2002.

Displaced women and children in Darfur where we are hoping to expand our female literacy work


Dear TFS supporters As you will have read elsewhere in this newsletter, Together for Sudan has been struggling to cope with the effects of the recession on our finances. The situation was looking grim earlier this year but the magnificent generosity of some of our longest-standing supporters and some great fund raising efforts have bought us time to get our income & expenditure into balance. Trustees are aiming to do this in 2010 and some hard decisions may be unavoidable if we cannot improve our income stream. To keep up the momentum of our life- changing projects in Sudan and the ability of our hard working aid staff to keep these delivering real aid, we need 200 people to give ÂŁ10 per month on a regular basis. COULD YOU BE ONE OF THESE, PLEASE? If so please fill in the bank standing order enclosed with this newsletter and return it to me. We understand this is a difficult time for everyone and TFS supporters are no different but please spare what you can to help the suffering people of Sudan. Please be assured that almost every penny of your donations go to Sudan (a very small amount is spent in UK for fund-raising). All trustees of TfS are unpaid volunteers and fund their own expenses; we have no paid staff outside Sudan. Support our 200 x ÂŁ10 campaign now! Norman Swanney, TfS treasurer I shall be in Sudan when you receive this newsletter. Both Together for Sudan Trustees and our Sudanese colleagues are deeply committed to our work of support for destitute and displaced women and children. We are deeply grateful for your generous giving as an expression of determination to continue a work which has already saved the future for hundreds of people and positively influenced the lives of thousands more. Working together we can keep this life saving work ongoing. With appreciation for your support,

Lillian Craig Harris OBE Director P.S. Help us save postage by emailing our newsletters!

Send your email address to: adrianpthomas@btinternet.com And do consider whether you can help by signing the enclosed GiftAid and/or Direct Debit form. Make cheques payable to Together for Sudan and post to Norman Swanney, 33 Balmoral Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 OJS, England. U.S. dollar cheques should be made payable to

The Bishop Mubarak Fund and sent to the same address. To donate by CREDIT or DEBIT CARD go online at www.togetherforsudan.org/donate.htm and click on

An elderly woman with cataracts is examined by a Together for Sudan ophthalmologist during an Eye Care outreach in Kadugli, the Nuba Mountains.


Together for Sudan Newsletter Winter 2009