Relief and relationship

MCC provides food, encourages understanding among people displaced by violence in South Sudan

Sep 15, 2014 by and

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About 70,000 of the more than 1.5 million South Sudanese displaced since December sought refuge at an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Awerial County, South Sudan. There they could find others who spoke the same language.

Children wait in line for a food distribution at a camp for displaced people in Awerial County, South Sudan. The food was distributed by the Sudanese Relief and Development Agency, supported by MCC.  — Simon Mikanipare/MCC

Children wait in line for a food distribution at a camp for displaced people in Awerial County, South Sudan. The food was distributed by the Sudanese Relief and Development Agency, supported by MCC. — Simon Mikanipare/MCC

The Sudanese Relief and Development Agency coordinated a food distribution project to help meet the needs of displaced children. The project, which is supported by Mennonite Central Committee, also helped provide a place of stability, where people could begin to build a sense of community and routine.

That stable place and sense of community is important, said Andrew Biar, a volunteer supervisor at one of the feeding centers, because it helps people manage the conflicts that arise when people are dislocated and placed in extreme circumstances.

“The MCC-SUDRA feeding program has restored the hopes of the community, brought a good number of pastors together and increased reconciliation as people meet and interact together,” said Biar, a volunteer from the Episcopal Diocese in Awerial County.

The project provided two months of food for 7,539 displaced children under 5 in Awerial County. Because food was distributed primarily at church compounds, it encouraged people to join church activities.

Brendan Tuttle, MCC’s representative for South Sudan and Sudan, said: “The feeding programs provided people with a place to gather and talk and learn firsthand that in settings marked by common hardships, cross-cultural, religious and linguistic differences can turn out to be no more important than the differences that exist among individual human beings.”

Since conflict in South Sudan erupted nine months ago, MCC has allocated more than $1.1 million in funding and resources, such as relief kits and canned meat, for displaced South Sudan­ese people both inside the country and in Kenya and Ethiopia.

In addition to the food distribution in Awerial, MCC is supporting the distribution of food baskets or vouchers to more than 21,000 displaced people in Budi and Mundri counties in South Sudan through its account at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

MCC is also supporting a project with Lutheran World Federation to provide food to children, mothers, seniors and people with disabilities or illness in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Refugees in Gambella, Ethiopia, will receive MCC relief, hygiene and school kits as well as blankets and canned meat.

Beyond meeting basic needs, MCC is continuing to support education, peacebuilding and agriculture projects in South Sudan. This includes funding two training sessions on dealing with trauma for 80 women and youth church leaders and supporting a similar program for South Sudanese refugees in Kenya.


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