SOUTH SUDAN: Salesian missionaries provide summer activities and food distribution for those who have been internally displaced
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Gumbo mission in Juba, South Sudan hosts the Salesian St. Vincent de Paul parish, which provides services to those who have been internally displaced and residing at the local IDP camp. The camp was established to aid those displaced by the war in 2013 and then again later as conflict continued. At its inception, Salesian missionaries report that there were close to 4,000 people at the camp. Now, there are more than 12,000 with the vast majority being women and children. Near the camp there is a Salesian-run nursery school for 1,000 children. Within the Don Bosco Gumbo grounds, there is also a school run by Daughters of Mary Help of Christians with 1,100 children who come from the neighboring villages.
UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, has noted that nearly 2 million people are displaced within South Sudan and close to another 2 million have fled seeking safety and shelter in neighboring countries. Many of those fleeing South Sudan are women and children. They include survivors of violent attacks and sexual assault, children who have been separated from their parents or traveled alone, the disabled, the elderly and people in need of urgent medical care. UNHCR has noted that South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has now joined Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia as countries that have produced more than a million refugees. It noted that an estimated 7.5 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Father David Tulimelli is the parish priest at the Salesian St. Vincent de Paul parish and oversees the work for those who have been internally displaced (IDPs). The IDPs residing at Don Bosco Gumbo are provided with the opportunity to work and to gain self-sufficiency. Gumbo received a good amount of rainfall this season making the environment lush and green. Together with the IDPs, Salesian missionaries are working to take advantage of this greener environment by planting vegetables to alleviate food shortage this year.
After a careful study was done in the camp to determine the needs of IDPs, missionaries found that the most urgent need was for cooking vessels and mats. With the aid of donors, Salesian missionaries were able to provide these essentials. In addition, with the collaboration of the World Food Programme and MACDA, Salesian missionaries were able to issue IDPs ID cards, which helped to better distribute food.
“No amount of rain could disturb us from our regular and important task of food distribution for the IDPs,” says Fr. Tulimelli. “Monthly distribution of flour, maize, beans and oil for the IDPs in our premise went on well. Thanks to our able staff and leaders from IDP camp who helped in food distribution.”
Father Tulimelli also added, “Health and hygiene is essential for all, especially for the girls. We did make efforts to ensure our children studying in our Don Bosco IDP school are not lacking their basic needs. This month we distributed sanitation kits essential for the girls in our schools. We are indebted to the good hearts who helped us in this endeavor.”
As the summer months arrive and students are out of school, Salesian missionaries planned special activities including games, sports, drills, exercises, songs, dances, activities for growth, seminars on health education and video programs. The daily program ends with a meal for the IDP school children.
Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Gumbo and across South Sudan continue to assess the situation and are working with their networks around the globe to access additional humanitarian aid. Responding to the ongoing civil strife is nothing new to Salesian missionaries in South Sudan. They have been continuing their educational and social development programs in communities across the country while also responding to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Salesian missionaries provide education, social development services, nutrition programs and health clinics for poor youth and their families in South Sudan. For some, the education offered at Salesian schools is the only opportunity to gain an education and the skills necessary for future employment.
Gumbo Newsletter May 2018
UNHCR – South Sudan Emergency
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.