Fatima Abakir is the proud headmistress of the Girls' Basic School at Dereig, near Nyala in Darfur, Sudan. Dereig is a camp for some of the people displaced by the violence in Darfur.
A new 12-room school--built by the ACTCaritas coalition, of which Church World Service is a member--is replacing a temporary structure that had a straw roof and was no match for tropical storms. A local workshop built sturdy desks and chairs for the new school.
Educators teach girls from both Dereig Camp and the community of Nyala, bringing together displaced children with those from the local community. Twenty students have graduated and gone on to further education and training.
Says Abakir, "The girls are taught Arabic, Islamic religious knowledge, geography, history, science, but their favorite subject is... English language!"
From somewhere deep within, Abakir and the children are finding the courage to build anew.
Since 2005, CWS has supported the ACT/Caritas coalition in Darfur, helping to provide emergency, livelihood, and educational assistance, as well as a safer environment, for women and girls in the region.
Church World Service is continuing to assist families displaced by violence in Swat district and Waziristan province, northern Pakistan, as they face challenges in meeting basic food, health care, and other needs.
Most of the displaced families in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, North West Frontier Province, and surrounding areas are living with host families. With limited resources for the people who already live in these areas, the huge influx of displaced people makes basic necessities even more scarce. Displaced and host families are facing extreme hardship, worsened by the winter's cold temperatures.
CWS is distributing food packages and non-food items in Dera Ismail Khan and is continuing health services for displaced families in Swabi, Mansehra and Abbottabad.
Health services for women are particularly critical given cultural norms that make it difficult for them to access healthcare. CWS is providing essential pre and post natal care to mothers. Earlier this month the health team in Mansehra assisted in the delivery of two healthy babies, a boy and a girl.