Projects Needing Assistance
Haiti: School for Children and Health Center for Mothers
International support fund has financed construction and free-tuition at a new school in Port au Prince. The school is completed, but the associated health clinic for parents and children needs assistance. Your donations will help the De La Salle Brothers in Haiti provide health education and care for women and infants in Haiti. Please consider the following gifts:
$ 20.00 Nutrition educational materials for mothers
$ 100.00 Vegetable garden seeds
$ 150.00 One month’s medical training for outreach volunteers
$ 30.00 Sponsor a woman to attend a sewing workshop
$ 100.00 Stethescope and other medical kit items for outreach volunteers
South Sudan: Moving Forward Amid Crisis
To assist in the building of South Sudan’s human capacity, La Salle International has been supporting the efforts of Solidarity with South Sudan, which is successfully offering educational, health and pastoral services. Solidarity with South Sudan currently has operational facilities in Juba, Wau, Malakal, Riimenze and Yambio, and satellite offerings in Leer, Nzara, Kosti, Renk and Bentieu. The staff, largely consists of consecrated religious male and females who typically have had previous missionary experience and who are experts in their field. The Solidarity teachers at the Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI) in Wau are board certified and fully credentialed Medical Doctors (MD) and Registered Nurse (RN) trainers.
The organization’s efforts have been threatened, however, by the ongoing conflict in South Sudan. As a result of the war, many people are in need of humanitarian assistance. (See the numbers below.) South Sudan erupted into violence 15 December 2013 when rebels loyal to the ousted Vice President Riek Machar initiated military action in the country. Since then, militia members loyal to Machar have battled government forces. Attempts at reconciliation by the African Union and others have been unsuccessful, so conflicts rage.
Solidarity with South Sudan strives to create self-sustainable teacher training and health-care institutes which eventually will be run by the Sudanese themselves. Solidarity with South Sudan does not discriminate with regards to tribal affiliation, geographic origin, religion, or sexual orientation. All programs operate under a collaborative memorandum of understanding with the appropriate national certifying authorities such as the Government of South Sudan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Ministry of Health. Contributions in support of this challenging and important work can be made through this website (press the “Support our work” button on the top right.)
Situation Update on South Sudan Food Crisis
NYUMANZI, UGANDA, 1 June 2015 (IRIN) – Through 17 months of conflict, tens of thousands of people have been killed in South Sudan and two million more displaced. Schools, health centres and markets have been looted and destroyed. It took a $1.8 billion humanitarian response last year for the country to avoid a famine.
And it’s about to get even worse.
At least 40 percent of the country’s population – 4.6 million people – faces acute food insecurity within the next three months, according to a new analysis. While the most severe shortages are predicted for the country’s northeast where the fighting has centred, the hunger belt now spreads across much of the country’s northern half.
At the same time, economists are warning that the combination of conflict and a global downturn in oil prices – the country’s main source of revenue – has brought South Sudan’s economy to the brink of collapse. Skyrocketing costs and a tanking currency are especially threatening to urban communities where people must buy most of their food. Some can already not afford to eat.
“All of this means a crisis is arriving very, very quickly,” said Shaun Hughes, the head of programme for the World Food Programme in South Sudan – and on a scale the already suffering country has not yet seen.
On the move
Ramsey Bol Lang is twice displaced. In December 2013, the 20-year-old was going to secondary school in Juba when fighting broke out. His neighborhood, on the capital’s outskirts, was the scene of door-to-door killings allegedly perpetrated by troops loyal to President Salva Kiir.
Three days later, Lang took advantage of a lull in the shooting to flee across the city. Though the fighting in the capital ended as rebel soldiers backing former vice president Riek Machar retreated into the country’s northeast, Lang decided it wasn’t safe to return to his home and rented a new place.
Months later, his mother, seven siblings and two cousins arrived in Juba to live with him. There had been protracted fighting near their home in northern Unity state and a brother and an uncle had been killed. Lang’s father had decided it was best to send the rest of the family to Juba.
Hunger, as well as conflict, is fuelling the exodus from South Sudan
Except now, a steep rise in prices means they can longer afford to live in the capital. “Everything has become expensive there,” Lang said. “If you want to rent a home, even, it’s too expensive.” Which is why, in late April, they gathered their belongings and hired a minibus for the hour-and-a-half drive to the Ugandan border. They were met by officials from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), who then took them on to a transit camp. Within a few weeks, they will be permanently resettled in Uganda.
Lang did not want to see his family become refugees. “That is our homeland,” he said, pointing to South Sudan, its border with Uganda visible from the Nyumanzi Transit Camp. “I don’t have a home here.” But at least he will have something to eat.
To stay in Juba was financially impossible. And to move back to the family’s village in Unity state’s Pariang County meant dealing with food shortages, in addition to the threat of violence. In the newly released Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which measures food security and nutrition, Pariang is predicted to reach “crisis” level as early as this month. And a cluster of counties to its south will likely hit the “emergency” threshold before the end of July – one level below famine. “The situation of Juba right now, all over South Sudan, even, it is not good for us,” Lang said.
Draku Godfrey Uhuru is the centre supervisor at Nyumanzi. Over the past few weeks, officials have been registering an average of 70 new arrivals to the camp each day. A month ago it was only 30 or 40.
Uhuru said most of the new refugees have fled from fighting in Unity and Upper Nile states. But for the first time, a noticeable number are not on the run from recent battles. Instead, they tell Uhuru, “It is hunger that is now attacking them.”
A predictable crisis
The figures in the new IPC report are jarring. Nearly 70 percent of the country will not get enough to eat through July. At least 80 percent of the counties across the country’s north are at a critical level of malnutrition, which is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and children. And the report does not even fully account for the people who might be in the worst position of all – stuck in the midst of ongoing fighting in Unity and Upper Nile states. Until the clashes stop, it is impossible for humanitarians to reach them – or even gauge the extent of their need.
A steep rise in prices means many can no longer afford to live in the capital.
WFP’s Hughes said the current situation was sadly predictable. In the early days of the conflict, if South Sudanese did not have enough to eat, they could sell livestock or barter supplies for food. “As the crisis goes on, those coping strategies become increasingly depleted,” he said. “They have nothing left to rely on, no assets left to sell.”
With the arrival of the lean season – the months when people are planting for August and September harvests – South Sudanese would usually supplement what food they were able to store from the previous year with goods from the markets. Except tens of thousands of people were unable to plant last year because of the fighting. And prices in the market – where markets even still exist – have shot up.
Barack Kinanga, the International Rescue Committee’s economic recovery and development coordinator, has seen the price for maize in some parts of the country surge 70 percent higher than it was at the same time last year. And he warns, “The prices are likely to rise further and even peak at unprecedented levels.” The search for food is driving people across borders, he said. UNHCR has recorded more than 9,000 new arrivals in both Sudan and Ethiopia over the past month. Uganda received around 7,000 South Sudanese in May – the most of any month this year.
Nyankuch Akuma is one of them. Her husband, a soldier, was shot and killed and she was left on her own outside Bentiu, the capital of Unity state. “It was so bad. Up to now there was no planting,” which is why she decided to leave and travel to Uganda. Even before she was placed in a permanent settlement, Akuma had decided, “I will stay here forever.”
South Sudan’s unprecedented level of hunger is the most alarming signal of the country’s larger economic collapse. South Sudan’s currency, the pound, is trading in Juba’s black markets at nine and a half to every dollar – less than half of its value a year ago. Fuel is scarce. And the casual jobs that many people rely on for income are disappearing as the currency depreciates.
It is against that backdrop that the food insecurity has spread beyond the country’s northeast. The rest of the country also depends on markets during the lean season, Kinanga said, and “steepening commodity prices are having a far-reaching effect for the communities not directly affected by the conflict.”
Some 70 percent of new arrivals at Nyumanzi transit site are under the age of 18. This includes as many as 600,000 people living in urban areas. And a sudden rise in food insecurity in towns will force overstretched humanitarian agencies – now largely focused on rural communities – to recalibrate their response.
The fighting is the obvious culprit for the country’s economic spiral, said Dr. Kenyi Spencer, a South Sudanese economist. The government is spending much-needed reserves on “the war, hardware, this and that. It has displaced the local economy.” And with long-term consequences.
“There is a real risk the economic choices the government is making now will destabilize the country for generations to come,” said Emma Vickers, a campaigner with the corruption watchdog group, Global Witness. “If, when the conflict ends, there is no money left for infrastructure projects, education or job creation, South Sudan faces a future where the only choice for its youth is to pick up arms again.”
At the same time, the country’s oil fields have suffered repeated attacks, forcing production cuts that the country – which is almost completely dependent on revenue from oil sales – can ill afford. And international conditions – including a strengthening dollar and a global drop in oil prices – are hastening South Sudan’s economic collapse, Spencer said. “All these have really arrived to put the economy in a bad place right now. In the next two to three weeks, if nothing happens to change the situation, it could be catastrophic.”
It already is for the hundreds of thousands of people who are now all but guaranteed to face some level of food insecurity in the coming months. The IPC projection that 4.6 million people will see severe food shortages takes into account the ongoing humanitarian response.
And if the warring parties continue to limit access, as they currently are in parts of Unity and Upper Nile states, or if requested funding doesn’t come through, then “the number of people we’ll be able to assist will be vastly diminished,” Hughes said. WFP, alone, is currently looking at a $230 million funding shortfall. Unless the money comes through, “we simply won’t have the resources to be able to provide assistance on the scale that’s required.”
4.1 Million People to be reached with humanitarian aid
1.5 Million People displaced internally by violence
2.5 Million People facing crisis/emergency levels of food insecurity Jan-Mar 2015
[Photo Courtesy of Reuters]
Bahay Pag-asa is a refuge for incarcerated youth
La Salle International supports the work of Bahay Pag-asa, in Dasmarinas, Philippines, a residential treatment facility for court adjudicated youth offenders. Ordinarily, these youth would be retained in the public jails which makes no separation of youth from adults; average cell populations can be from 100-140 individuals. Bahay Pag-asa (House of Hope) provides residencial educational programs and training to allow juvenile offenders to begin their lives again with marketable skills.
India: Boys’ Village provides a home for street children
Boys’ Village is a residential program for 87 orphan, abandonded and destitute boys aged 6-12 who are economically poor and who have shown poor performance in academics. It costs Rs. 1,200 per boy per month to operate the facility ($30 per boy per month).
The boys live in several different dorms which are managed by the boys themselves. They have regular activities on the weekend; during the week, they spend most of their daytime in school and their evenings in supervised study. All of these youth are individuals who otherwise would be out on the street. As such, the village cannot require students to pay tuition – all students are 100% scholarship need students.
India: Reaching The Unreached
Beginning in 1974 with a small program for boys, Reaching the Unreached (RTU) has evolved over the years into a comprehensive program to serve marginal populations in India. RTU is a comprehensive series of programs which offer a variety of services including, but not limited to: KinderCare, primary school education, home building (and associated construction trades for the homes which are pre-fabricated on the premises), textile work (see photo), dispensary and a facility for elderly health care and meals for the elderly who can’t cook for themselves.
The clinic which carefully monitors AIDS patients and leprosy affected individuals also provides after-natal training for mothers and diagnoses/treats about 160 people a day for a variety of illnesses. In the afternoon, the clinic becomes mobile and visits nearby villages whose people cannot make the travel to the center for health care. Additionally, the clinic serves about 400 elderly people who are too feeble to come to the clinic. The clinic also trains medical workers who animate local health communities by providing education in proper lifestyles and can make referrals to the clinic when necessary; these individuals dispense OTC medications when necessary.
Approximately 950 orphaned or parent-separated children are incorporated into a “village-like” program where 6-8 youth are housed with single mothers until they can live in a hostel. About 500 children stay with their house-mothers until 12 or 13 and then live in a hostel until they are 17. Due to space limitations, the program provides for additional children to be placed in homes in the area and payment is made for the homes to house the children on a per diem basis. RTU has 6 hostels which provide homes for 250 adolescents. A special house is kept for AIDS victims and a special child care unit has been set up to work with them. Of the 950 kids served through the program, about 10% are HIV+. HIV assistance (training, counselling, medications) is given to families.
A large cafeteria provides for the children’s needs and a hot mid-day meal is provides for approximately 2,000 whom live and work at the center; 750 additional meals are prepared for breakfast and dinner.
Part of the RTU program is also to build houses for the less fortunate. Using a production facility built on the campus, and a stardard for pre-fabrication, approximately 7,500 houses have been built (17’ x 17’) from cement bricks. Houses cost Rs 60,000 (about $1,500 USD) apiece to build.
A RTU mobile educational laboratory visits schools whose budget does not afford science lab equipment; this mobile unit stops and the schools and allows students to conduct experiments inside the unit.
There is a large volunteer group who assist with operations and approximately 400 people are employed by RTU, thereby providing significant assistance to the local poor area.
Ivory Coast: Abobo Project Welcomes Destitute Youth
This project focuses on street children between 8 and 15 years of age who have be disassociated from their families. The children are welcomed from the local area where they are found running free in the streets, often getting into trouble and running drugs. The area is a very poor area with garbage in the streets and poor shanties for the local people.
The Abobo campus consists of a series of small dormitories for 8 children and a counselor in which each student is given his own bed and closet. The children are typically here for about 3 years before they are placed back into their own homes, or homes of relatives.
The facility is set up in a village like arrangement, with very nice dormitories surrounding a central meeting area. The grounds have facilities for soccer and other sports; a library is currently being constructed which will replace the other, smaller and dysfunctional library on campus.
The school has approximately 50 street children. Efforts are made to associate them with the families and, where possible, to place them in the public school system. When this is not possible, tutoring of the students occurs on campus.
The students are responsible for the maintenance of the property which includes helping to serve the food, keeping the floors and tables clean, working in the garden, etc. Medical attention is given to the students through the services of a nearby religious congregation of Roman Catholic sisters who are involved in medical ministries.
Burkina Faso: CLIMA Provides Skills to Agricultural Families
Located in Beregadougou, Burkina Faso, Project CLIMA is a successful agricultural training center for young families. The goal of the project is to train 24 families of farmers (with wives and children) how to farm productively, utilize the most modern techniques, and become financially self-sufficient. The program admits married couples less than 30 years of age who have farms of their own and who wish to spend two years training of agricultural training at the CLIMA. This agricultural project is modeled on a successful TAMI Project in northern Togo. CLIMA involves 60 hectares of land on the main farm and 100 hectares at a satellite location 12 km away.
There are three workshops on the property: carpentry, mechanics, and clothing (sewing). The property also has a stable for 6 steer, a chicken coup, 2 classrooms, living space for teachers, a store room, and a garage for farm equipment. A former set of aquaculture ponds exist on the property and some of them are being used currently for rice production. Both men and women receive instruction in how to manage a farm.
Because the families come with their children, there is need to have a child care center for the youngsters. Mothers assist with this and keep the kids busy inside with some instruction and outside playing on the grounds. At this point, there are 34 children on the grounds; only four go to school at the public school. Two full time child care women oversee this child care center.
IALU: Surrounding the world with university and professional education
The International Association of La Sallian Universities (IALU) is a consortium of higher educational institutions around the world. The 74 member institutions provide a variety of undergraduate, graduate and professional (law, medicine, engineering) degrees and programs. Each of the institutions has functional specialities which respond to the needs of the local area; all of them have quality undergraduate education. In IALU schools, teaching is “job one” so all of the professors are primarily evaluated on their capabilities in the classroom.
University education in the IALU system extends throughout 5 continents. Collaborative work among the universities is common. As such, students in one university can elect to take classes or study abroad at other universities, and through this linkage of professional talent and outstanding teaching, the consortium makes up one of the most powerful higher educational networks in the world.
Students from less developed countries are assisted by scholarships from donors who understand the importance of a global education. These generous donors seek to provide these students with access to this opportunity which is so professionally rewarding and personally transformative.
Colombia: Project Utopia Builds Agricultural Leadership
Through Universidad De La Salle in Colombia, “Project Utopia” engages high school alumni from Colombian rural areas affected by violence and poverty. Students become Agricultural Engineers through a creative “hands on” program in which best practices are taught in the field by knowledgeable instructors. Besides learning farming operations, students become leaders for social and political transformation in field production
entrepreneurship at their places of origin.
Students come from deep Colombia – where employment opportunities are scarce, poverty is common, and where continual pressure is exerted from armed groups to join their ranks. They are relocated to safety and security of the campus of Universidad De La Salle. There, they recover faith and hope in themselves. The program is designed to build their self-esteem, to awaken their goodness and solidarity, and give them an outstanding technical and scientific education. Ultimately, they will be the professionals which contribute positively to the reconstruction of a new country.
The Project’s enormous challenges range from dealing with students’ psychological
and social conditions to the urgency of achieving national and international funding
which can sustain the program.
The specific objectives of the program are:
- To provide students with agricultural training for sustainable agricultural conversion and preservation of the biodiversity of the Colombian Amazorinoquia and other rural areas.
- To create and transfer knowledge in order to enable the improvement of economic, social and nutritional conditions of the rural Colombian.
- To promote agricultural production around associations and cooperatives of producers to achieve field technical production.
- To train leaders for social and political action to promote democratic values and to foster the reconstruction of the social fabric.
For more information about this program which builds human capacity in Colombia’s youth, click here.
Haiti: Primary and secondary school serves remote island population
Turtle Island (Ile de la Tortue) lies off the northern coast of Port-au-Paix, Haiti where small fishing and subsistence level farmers live on a year-round basis. Serving the needs of young children on this island, the Communauté Notre-Dame-des-Palmistes manages a secondary school and a primary school. The physical structures of the school have been provided by NGO donors such as the Lasallian PROYDE and ongoing operational support of the school requires continued assistance above the tuition base which cannot be met by most of the students. In other than financial ways, the local community of Haitians are very supportive of the school and frequently use the area for activities and gatherings, in addition to the educational work which is provided to the villagers regardless of one’s ability to pay tuition.