TOGETHER FOR SUDAN-The Bishop Mubarak Fund Website: www.bishopmubarakfund.org.uk Registered English Charity No. 1075852.
Dear Friends, Since Together for Sudan merged with The Bishop Mubarak Fund in January this year we have been making steady progress in our work to assist those who are marginalised and often destitute. Increasingly we work as an implementing charity between marginalised people and international funders who do not have our close access to people at the “grassroots”. Together for Sudan remains a small international charity but has been able to identify and respond quickly to local needs. Our projects include eye care and HIV/AIDS awareness outreaches, solar lighting panels and breakfasts for school children. But our basic goal is the education of women and children. This, we believe, is the primary building block of civil society and an essential step towards a peaceful, more democratic Sudan. In all this work we can serve as facilitating partners between those with funding and those in need. One of the most exciting recent developments in our work was the opening of a sub-office in Kadugli, capital of the Nuba Mountains, early this year. During a September visit to Sudan I visited Kadugli and found once again an enormous longing for education among Nuba women. Our plan is to help these women and their children by serving as a facilitater between UNICEF, with which we are in partnership, and local community based organisations(CBOs). Capacity building, including management training, will strengthen the community based organisations and prepare them for eventual full responsibility for their schools and health projects. Meanwhile we are continuing to send our graduated university scholars back to the Nuba Mountains as teachers and we are fundraising for resources to carry out this innovative three way programme.
At the village of Ambata outside Kadugli, Country Director Silas Jojo and I met with over 250 women and children who are trying to learn to read even though for many this means meeting under a tree. They have no paid teachers and no books or facilities but they are determined to obtain the vital tool of literacy. The women had been gathered by Saraf Jamous, a community based organisation which we are already assisting in the SPLM administered area of the Nuba Mountains. We plan to extend this partnership to the Kadugli area by supplying qualified literacy teachers and kindergarten teachers to the women and children of Ambata.
OUR VISION: Education provides ‘Power to the Powerless’ by allowing Sudanese women to retrieve their dignity, protect themselves in the market place and improve their employment prospects. ‘Building Peace through Service ’expresses our hope to unite Sudanese of different ethnic and religious backgrounds in community service for the promotion of community reconciliation and peace building.
IN THE NUBA MOUNTAINS….. In a hill village just outside Kadugli is a kindergarten started by the community in 1993 but then closed for several years due to “security difficulties”. Now reopened, the small school is attended by some 60 Christian and Muslim children age three to five. Together for Sudan hopes to help this school by providing salaries for the two teachers as well as teacher training. Several young girls who serve as teaching assistants may be future teachers! Many such self help schools have sprung up in the Nuba Mountains since the 2002 ceasefire there and a number have applied to Together for Sudan for support. Village school outside Kadugli, the Nuba Mountains All smiles inside the school
TFS VALUES INCLUDE *Education as a human right. *Empowerment of women for a better future. *Response to what marginalised people say they need. *Respect for people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds *Personal and community empowerment through service. *Promotion of volunteerism. *Provision of basic medical and other logistical support for education. *Combating HIV/AIDS through education.
Hunger is a persistent problem in the Nuba Mountains. Already the TFS Breakfast Project is feeding one meal a day to 150 young women from rural areas who are enrolled in the Kadugli Girls Secondary School. But we are soon to become a facilitating partner between UN agencies and basic self help schools to set up TFS Breakfast and Medicine Box projects. Eventually we hope to facilitate school construction in the Nuba Mountains. But for all this we need your continuing financial support!
. . . . . IN THE KHARTOUM AREA The lives of many displaced people in settlements surrounding Khartoum have become even more difficult following the January 2005 peace agreement. As real estate prices rise in the Khartoum area, the government has accelerated its policy of bulldozing squatter shelters so that the land can be sold to others. But many among the two million displaced persons living on Khartoum’s outskirts are as yet unable to return to their former homes in the south or west. Tens of thousands now remain in makeshift shelters in often waterless waste areas where health conditions among the destitute have deteriorated. Together for Sudan continues to operate its Eye Care, Medicine Box, Solar Lighting, HIV/AIDS Awareness and Breakfast projects in these areas. Together for Sudan also supports 12 self help basic schools and 20 women’s literacy classes in the Khartoum area. We pay teachers’ salaries at two basic self help schools in Soba Aradi: St. Philips School, which has 800 students, and Fulla Falls which has 600. Both schools remain open despite increased health hazards as the bulldozing destroyed drainage ditches in an area where standing water breeds malarial mosquitos. Student enrolments have not dropped in either school despite the bulldozing but most parents are no longer able to pay even the small donations previously made towards tuition costs as they face more urgent needs for shelter and medicines. Please help us increase our support to both St. Philips and Fulla Falls schools and to other basic schools for displaced children around Khartoum. Children playing at Ezba squatter settlement
Of vital importance to the futures of many families are the women’s literacy classes which TFS sponsors in the settlements for displaced persons around Khartoum. Women tell us that they can support their families and take on leadership roles if we help them learn to read. Meanwhile many of their living areas are scheduled for future demolition and people live in fear. Although displaced persons in the Khartoum area have traditionally been relatively docile when faced with mistreatment, the riots in Khartoum after the early August death of SPLM/A leader Dr. John Garang – and the retaliation which followed – indicate that this may now be changing. Together for Sudan believes in peace building through service. Help us work for justice and change the future through education!
Women attending a Together For Sudan literacy class at Thawra, a settlement for displaced persons outside Khartoum. In all our Khartoum area literacy classes we are now using the dynamic Reflect method which centres on the interests of the students and typically produces literacy and numeracy within nine months. By early next year we hope to have trained as well all of our Nuba Mountains literacy teachers to use the Reflect method. Please help us to continue to help Sudanese women help themselves. Literacy empowers individuals and transforms families!
Together for Sudan’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Outreach has been active for four years thanks to CAFOD funding. In September a senior Samaritan from London trained 22 befrienders for the project’s home-based care component. Here is her report on one of our more innovative forms of education: Befriending on the Front Line in the Fight Against HIV/ AIDS Although estimates of the numbers of those infected by HIV/AIDS in Sudan vary, it is clear that increasing thousands of people are affected, including in the Khartoum area. And behind every statistic is an individual; someone for whom living with HIV and AIDS is a constant fear and battle; someone who needs support and care. It is this important work in which Together for Sudan has become involved. I was privileged to work with the members of Together for Sudan’s HIV/AIDs awareness team, looking with them at the benefits of “listening therapy” and the ways in which this can provide much needed emotional support to those in distress. We looked at ways of listening effectively, what gets in the way, why giving advice might not be right and above all how to go alongside someone in pain, be it emotional or physical. I have been a trainer of befrienders for many years and have never met such a dedicated and motivated group of volunteers, some of whom are themselves suffering from HIV and yet their willingness to help others is remarkable. All had experienced a suicide of someone who could not face the consequences and/or stigma of HIV/AIDS. Yet this only served to increase their motivation to help. We had laughter, tears and interesting debates about “life”. My lasting memory will be of a group of people whose lives will touch others through listening and befriending them ‘on the front line,” Heather Barker
With appreciation for helping us help the Sudanese towards a better future,
Lillian Craig Harris Director P.S. We can save postage by emailing our newsletters to you. Please send your email address to adrianandrobyn @btinternet.com
TFS TARGET GROUPS *Marginalised, displaced and illiterate Sudanese women. *Marginalised and displaced young women seeking university education in Sudan. *Children from destitute and/or displaced families. *Communities with no schools. *Communities with no affordable medical resources. *Community organisations working with disadvantaged people. *People living with HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS orphans.
Make cheques payable to: Together for Sudan, 45 Paramount Court, 39 University Street, London WC1E 6JP. US dollar cheques should be made out to The Bishop Mubarak Fund and sent to Norman Jackson, 47 Taunton Ave., London, SW20 OBH, U.K.