By David Tereshchuk*
April 14, 2015—South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation, having gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a long civil war. Since then, the South Sudanese people have been working to build their new nation, even as they face significant challenges.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has served the region since 2006. After South Sudan independence, it set up a country office in Juba, the capital, from which it managed its ongoing work in Central Equatoria and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states.
Relief-supply kits, especially school kits and health kits, which are assembled and made available thanks to the generosity of United Methodists and others of goodwill, have proven to be a vital part of UMCOR’s accompaniment of the South Sudanese people.
Rev. Fred Dearing, a Global Ministries volunteer, is district superintendent of the South Sudan United Methodist Church in Yei, in the southwest. He was present recently when the church’s health board distributed health kits and school kits and trained residents in their proper use.
Kits spark enthusiasm, encourage healthy habits
“I believe the kits and training make a lasting impact,” said Dearing. Children with whom he spoke at the Ligitolo Church and School told him how they used the wash cloths, soap and other materials in the health kits.
The kits, he said, are useful for building “lasting personal habits that improve health and prevent diseases.”
Dearing said the children also were eager to have the school kits. Each one includes a schoolbag, which, he said students told him, “keeps our books out of the rain, and what is in the kit lets us write things, to give us knowledge.”
The health kits also prompted enthusiasm among residents of the United Methodist Church’s Greenland Home for Children, which cares for orphans and other vulnerable young people. These children remarked to Dearing, “The kits have soap to wash our skin and chase away bugs, and nail clippers to cut our nails and keep our fingers healthy.”
In South Sudan and elsewhere around the world, UMCOR health kits and school kits make a visible difference in the lives of those who receive them. Your gift to Contain Our Joy, Advance #982730, allows UMCOR to ship these kits anywhere in the world where they are needed.
These kits are in short supply. Read more about what you can do to meet this challenge.
- David Tereshchuk is a journalist and media critic who contributes regularly to www.umcor.org.