Advent 3

To people who have been forced from their homes and are hungry

Every morning Joyce goes down to the market. Like any salesperson, she knows the importance of loyal customers to her business. Each day she has a regular clientele of women like her coming to buy food in small quantities – a cup of groundnuts, some beans, or an onion. Like her, they have been displaced because of South Sudan’s bitter conflict.

Three years ago, Joyce watched an unknown gunman kill her father and husband James on the same day. She was left traumatised and responsible for their three children. The youngest was still being breastfed.

“That was the end of life for me and my children, I almost ran mad’’, she said. “Since then I have struggled to feed and raise school fees for my children.”

For two years, she would buy a basin of food at a time. With the proceeds from her stall, she had enough to buy another basinful. When the day ended, she could feed her family a little – but it was never enough.

Last year she took part in a livelihood project for single mothers run by CWS partner, Maridi Service Agency. She attended a one-week intensive course on running a small business and received a small amount of start-up capital.

“After receiving the money, I bought the items in big quantities – two sacks of groundnuts (peanuts) and 5 basins of simsim (sesame seeds). I bought enough to store. I plan to sell it during the time of scarcity so as to get more profit,” said Joyce.

Her market stall has doubled in size. She has a table on which to display her wares. Now able to feed her family, she can pay school fees and medical expenses.

Five years of civil war have almost stripped the world’s newest country of hope. Already one of the poorest, the situation for its people worsened as conflict between political leaders spread quickly. Many now live on the edge of hunger – 6.1 million people – more than half the population. Guns can be easier to find than food. 1.84 million people have been forced from their homes often from violent attacks or because their homes and crops have been burnt from the ground. The people have proved resilient and courageous through everything, South Sudan’s churches have pressed for peace and unity at every level. A tentative peace process is in place, but conflict can break out at any time.

South Sudanese have had little opportunity to attend school. Poverty and decades of conflict have left many in danger of being left behind.

Be the Lifeline to communities where there is not enough food for everyone.

Donations to the Christmas Appeal will give people who have been forced from their homes, the resources they need to start again in a new place.

Maridi Service Agency

Founded in 2000 by students returning from studies in Uganda, the Maridi Service Agency has worked hard to improve the lives of their town and district. Through all of South Sudan’s troubles they have focused on giving young people opportunities through education, protection and empowerment.Maridi   (population around 100,000) is in the state of Western Equatoria, traditionally more peaceful than much of the rest of the country.

MSA operates the only HIV and AIDS clinic in Maridi offering free testing and counselling. Those infected are referred to the hospital for treatment. MaridiFM ran awareness programmes on HIV and AIDS and child protection. They took HIV and AIDS education into the schools.

MSA manages two preschools and the Maridi High School with a special focus on education for girls. They offer 20 scholarships to female students attending High School which include the requirement that they not become pregnant.

Funding from our South Sudan Appeal matched by the New Zealand government is supporting displaced mothers with training and capital to start-up small businesses like food or tea stalls, and to plant gardens.

MSA operates the only local radio station, MaridiFM. The station is a primary platform for education in the community. Last year they ran a series of programmes on HIV/AIDS, access to education, early and forced marriages, hygiene and sanitation, child care and protection, health, youth issues and for women.

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

The 2018 Appeal puts the spotlight on our responsibilities to each other and the planet our home. In 2015, the United Nations agreed to a new agenda for sustainable development made up of 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 2 is a commitment to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. For the third year in a row the number of hungry people has increased. In 2017, 821 million people did not get enough to eat. The majority of them live in developing countries. One in four of the world’s children suffers from stunted growth. 66 million children go to school hungry.

To meet the needs of the existing population and the projected 2 billion increase by 2050 will require changes in policy and practice, especially when so much of the world’s environment is downgraded. Climate change and water shortages are already putting pressure on farmers. Taken as a whole the global food system has given priority to the largest transnational corporations who control increasing amounts of its resources and international trade. New policies that recognise the importance of the 500 million small farms that provide up to 80% of the food consumed in the developing world offer opportunities to meet this goal.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) conflict is a key driver of food insecurity, pushing countries like South Sudan to famine and many others close to it. Last year 37 countries required external food assistance.

Many CWS partners include training and support for people to make the most from their small pieces of land. Using local experts, they train farmers to cut costs by using eco-agricultural/restorative/conservation farming techniques. Saving seeds, making compost and sprays, and simple irrigation systems are the first stages. Your donations fund seeds, plants, agricultural trainers and the programmes they run. In Sri Lanka, Monlar has successfully advocated for support for small farmers developing sustainable practices in government programmes.

Join the Lifeline so all people have food, water, dignity and lives free of violence. Leave no one behind. Support the Christmas Appeal.

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