Canadian Jesuits International supports the work of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in South Sudan. Civil conflict has torn Sudan from 1955-1972 (first Sudanese civil war) and 1983-2005 (Second Sudanese civil war) leading to the partition of the country into Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan. Conflict and strife continue to affect South Sudan as it goes through its own civil war (2013 to date). The frequency, length and severity of these conflicts mean that there is no South Sudanese who has not experienced the trauma of violence. In order to address the issues brought by conflict and violence, JRS provides educational, health and human relief services to some of the 1.67 million internally displaced people (IDP)* in the country as well as 298,313 refugees,* mostly from Sudan (*from the 2019 report of the United Nations Refugee Agency – UNHCR).
In Maban county, JRS supports three Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD) and one Temporary Learning Space (TLS) run by the community and the local parish. ECD is a formally recognized part of the education program in South Sudan which leads to primary and secondary education. The ECD centres aim to ensure that children between the ages of 3 to 7 years develop holistically in readiness to join basic schooling. TLS gives the opportunity to children between 5 to 17 years old the opportunity to continue learning when they are unable do so in a formal school because there is none in the area. The main beneficiaries of these initiatives are internally displaced people (IDP), especially children and youth.
Rimenze is a relatively new settlement for displaced people. The movement of armed militia in the area connecting Rimenze to Yambio has made this camp difficult to access by road without an official UN security convoy. Despite the attempts of the community to get help from different donors, there is a lack of support from the international community. The situation has improved immensely since August 2018, and with the start of a UNHCR funded pilot protection program in Rimenze, JRS can now access the camp on a daily basis. Children in the settlement have been found to go to school hungry thereby affecting their capacity to learn.
The Education Program of JRS in South Sudan operates in six schools in the city of Yambio and Maban county. The project provides meals and other essential items to 1300 children suffering from the effects of war and displacement in their country in a safe environment. The program has improved the education and health services in these areas by: 1) attracting and retaining youth in schools; and 2) relieving pressure on their families that are having difficulty providing for their children. This project has had a positive and life changing impact on the lives of displaced youth and their families.
CJI has already sent over $108,000 in financial assistance and continues to support the School Feeding Program and JRS in its efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project through capacity-building of the beneficiaries, community members/leaders, police and JRS staff members, primary and secondary school teachers and school management teams through various trainings.
JRS South Sudan Country Director: Noelle Fitzpatrick
Visit the JRS South Sudan website: https://jrs.net/en/country/south-sudan/
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