SUDAN: Salesian sisters serving those displaced by war
Several hundred people are receiving food, shelter
(MissionNewswire) Salesian sisters with Daughters of Mary Help of Christians are still serving those in need even in the face of ongoing conflict within Khartoum, Sudan*. The war between Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) started on April 15. There is no public transport, electricity is sporadic and water is becoming scarce.
While Salesian sisters in Shajara, close to Khartoum, had to close the elementary school and the women’s center, they are still serving those most in need. They are providing informal classes, giving food and shelter to several hundred people and also caring for the injured.
The Salesian sisters opened their center in Shajara in 1989. They are currently the only representatives of the Catholic Church in the vicinity of the Sudanese capital. The Salesian sisters’ residence is surrounded by poor families living in iron shacks.
The sisters have opened their classrooms and their residence for the poor and transformed the space into a house of prayer. They have established a playground for poor children where they can play during the day and a safe haven where they can sleep at night. About 80 children with their mothers live there. The number rises to more than 150 people a night.
The Salesian sisters offer breakfast daily to about 300 children and people who live around their residence. They are also offering medical support to those who are injured. Every day, between 15 and 20 injured patients come for medical help.
Salesian missionaries were also working in the area. They had a vocational school and St. Joseph Parish in Khartoum and another center in the city of El Obeid, 500 kilometers from Khartoum. A Salesian missionary, who is the director of the vocational school, explained, “All three have been closed due to insecurity and the dangers that lie ahead. The Salesians from these communities have left the country and I am staying with the Salesian sisters in Shajara.”
He added, “There is little known about the conflict because of the limited movement of people. In most areas the electricity has been interrupted for several weeks and temperatures are hot. In addition, running water has become a luxury in most areas of Khartoum, and the supply has also been drastically reduced. Some shops have been looted and many others have run out of supplies.”
Salesian sisters will continue to monitor the situation and do what they can for those most in need.
With more than 36% of its population living in poverty, Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world, according to UNICEF. Low incomes and food deficiencies are common, and ongoing violence and civil unrest exacerbate already harsh conditions. Despite these challenges, more youth are in school today than ever before. There remain, however, some 3.2 million children between the ages of 6-16 out of school with the highest rates among nomadic populations, those living in rural areas and in the poorest households.
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Salesian Missions – Sudan
UNICEF – 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.