Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 4, 2006
Sudan faces urgent need for aid, money
Local charity appeals for funds, volunteers
By RAMON GONZALEZO
"Kids are running around with nothing to do and we want to provide them with formal education."
- Dominic Garang
The school is currently being built in partnership with the government and the community. More than 200 children aged up to 14 are registered.
"Kids are running around with nothing to do and we want to provide them with formal education," Garang said.
The civil war between the Islamic North and the Christian South went for more than 20 years, resulting in the deaths of 2.2 million people and displacing roughly 4.5 million people.
It damaged Sudan's economy and led to food shortages, resulting in starvation and malnutrition. The lack of investment during this time, particularly in the South, meant a generation lost access to basic health services, education and jobs.
A peace agreement between the southern rebels and the central government was reached in January 2005, granting Southern Sudan autonomy for six years, to be followed by a referendum on independence. It created a co-vice-president position and allowed the North and South to split oil revenues equally, but also left both the North's and South's armies in place.
"We have refugee camps that are on the border of neighbouring countries like Uganda, Kenya, Eritrea and all the neighbouring countries that surround the Sudan," explained Garang.
"And we have internally displaced people who left their original villages from the South to the North."
Now that the peace is solid in Southern Sudan, displaced people want to return to their villages but those villages are in ruins. The government of Southern Sudan started moving people from the North to the South, placing them in location centres, where they receive food.
Some farmers leave their families in the location centres and walk long distances to their destroyed villages with nothing but the shirt on their backs, Garang explained.
"They (realize) they need to go back to their farms."
Garang will return to Sudan Sept. 15 and will visit the 10 states that make up Southern Sudan.
"The purpose is to see the need of the different regions and then to bring (that reality) to the attention of Canadians and of the Canadian government."
During his tour, Garang released about $10,000 raised by Sudcan in Edmonton for humanitarian needs. "We are seeking more (funds) because now we have a better idea about what the needs are," he said.
"In the boarding school that we will be operating we have to build water well. We will also have to acquire electricity generators to provide electricity for the school."
Those who wish to donate to Sudcan or to travel there as a volunteer can contact Garang at 428-9317.
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