SOUTH SUDAN: Displaced people receive education, medical care
Don Bosco Gumbo camp for internally displaced persons currently hosts 10,000 people
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with St. Vincent de Paul Parish are operating the Don Bosco Gumbo camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Juba, South Sudan*. The camp, established in January 2014 after the outbreak of the civil war in December 2013, currently hosts 10,000 people, most of whom are women, children and the elderly. Salesians provide shelter, food, education, medical care and other basic needs.
In addition to the camp, Don Bosco Gumbo provides education for more than 4,000 children and older youth in its schools. There are two kindergartens, two primary-middle schools, an accelerated elementary school, a secondary school, and vocational training center which offers courses in electricity, mechanics, stoneworks-masonry, solar panel technician, welding and computer studies. More than 700 older youth gain skills for later employment through this training.
“Salesians constantly look for ways to expand what they offer, ensuring that those who need it most have their needs met,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The camp now has a Salesian medical clinic, a women’s promotion center, and sports camps to keep the children active and engaged. The clinic has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Most of people living in nearby villages have had little or no access to face masks, hand sanitizers, and immunization. They have also had little information about the spread of COVID-19, leaving the population at risk. Salesians are working to create awareness and provide information to create healthy practices to fight the disease.
Salesians are also providing face masks, soap and hand sanitizers. After this project launched, students, young adults, and people who are working started taking the necessary precautions while women in the villages and older people focused on engaging in the awareness programs and helping to spread the message. Cooked meals were also provided for students and adults who required better nutrition.
South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 but has faced an ongoing civil war that started in December 2013 and resulted in a dire humanitarian crisis even before the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to the civil strife is nothing new to Salesian missionaries in South Sudan, who are dedicated to the programs and services they are providing across the country.
South Sudan is expansive and largely rural with 83 percent of the population residing in rural areas. Poverty is endemic with at least 80 percent of the population defined as income-poor and living on the equivalent of less than $1 per day, according to the World Bank. More than one-third of the population lacks secure access to food.
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Australian Salesian Missions Overseas Annual Report 2021
Salesian Missions – South Sudan
World Bank – South Sudan
*Any goods, services or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.