Looking Forward to 2017

If you can’t feed 100 people, then feed just one. — Mother Teresa

Many questions remain about South Sudan’s political and economic future. On the one hand, there has been no recent upsurge of violence. It was reported that New Year’s Eve was celebrated in Juba without any gunfire. On the other hand, hyperinflation and food insecurity remain in South Sudan. Education and clean water for all are elusive goals.

A small non-profit like ours looks at enormous problems that governments and international NGOs cannot overcome — and turns back to doing what it can do.

We aren’t able to provide massive distributions of emergency food. But we were able to provide aid to farmers to buy seed in 2016. And we were able to provide price supports at the market so the resulting crops could be sold at lower prices, while still give farmers a profit.   peanut harvest 04 2014We also, by building Wunlang School back in 2008, have provided a place where food supplies can be distributed. About 160 girls attending Wunlang School received sorghum, lentils, and cooking oil through a UNICEF program.   wunlang-school-girls-receiving-sorghum-may-2016 Girls’ literacy is still far behind boys’ (40 percent to 60 percent), but we have seen girls’ enrollment increase steadily in Wunlang since the school was built. Word of Wunlang School has spread. As other parts of South Sudan become too difficult to live in, families have come to Wunlang to give their children a chance at education. Even when children are hungry, reports field manager Yel Maduok Ngor, they still show up for school. wunlang-school-classroom-june-2016 Back in America, Thiou Village Project has raised enough money to enable us to provide school supplies and money for repairs. We also had a remarkably successful fundraising day for our Malual-Chum project. It is our goal to get a well drilled in this village this year. Then women and girls like this won’t have to haul up dirty water with a tin can.   Wells in Malual-Chum You can help with all these goals by making a donation. Then you will have done your part to bringing education and opportunity, despite all the obstacles, to remote parts of South Sudan.        

The light shines in the darkness

Things are pretty grim in many parts of South Sudan. Everyone, from the President of the United States on down, has an opinion about what should be done, but bringing peace and order to this new nation, which began with such promise, is a pretty tall order. And what can the average person do? This: bring malaria treatment to a village that had none. Save lives where malaria deaths were high.
Waiting for malaria treatment at Wunlang Primary Care Center

Waiting for malaria treatment at Wunlang Primary Care Center

At a community meeting in 2013 we were urged to staff Wunlang clinic because deaths from malaria were so high.
Women and children wait outside Wunlang Primary Care Clinic, designed by our field manager Yel Madouk.

Women and children wait outside Wunlang Primary Care Clinic, designed by our field manager Yel Madouk.

Even when things look grim, we can provide some hope.
wunlang clinic malaria 01

Our primary-care center can administer malaria medicine that will bring patients back to health.

No matter what twists and turns take place in the country, we still are providing help to the villages of South Sudan.

Growing season

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It’s been a while since we’ve posted! Communications to the remote parts of South Sudan where we work have not improved a lot; it’s difficult to get photos out. But executive director Franco Majok just returned from a visit and brought some great ones. The stateside directors of Village Help for South Sudan don’t travel over constantly. Our budget goes to our programs. We also want to promote the model of self-sufficiency: we give the grants and start a project rolling. We train community leaders and teach them how to be accountable. And we get results like this:
sorghum rhumathoi summer 2014

A thriving stand of sorghum in the fields that we last saw were marked out for agricultural plots at the Rhumathoi Community Center, with community leaders meeting in the shade.

 
sorghum 03 rhumathoi summer 2014

Our guest house surrounded by crops.

   
gardening rhumathoi 02 summer 20134

Akot, the center’s caretaker, working in the newly established peanut field.

charging cell phones rhumathoi summer 2014 - Copy

A cell-phone charging station. Income from charging villagers’ cell phones and from selling crops goes toward funding community center programs.

charger hookup rhumathoi summer 2014

The charging station setup. Solar power is stored in the big black batteries. Ron will blog in more technical detail.

no entrance community center rhumathoi summer 2014

“No entrance * Danger” With the power of electricity just coming to Rhumathoi, the center wants to keep people safe.

deng madhieu manager rhumathoi summer 2014

Deng Madhieu, our new community-center manager. Yel, our former manager, is going to school in Grenada!

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Deng is faithfully keeping accounts of the center’s income and expenses. When we train our managers in this kind of record-keeping, the skill can be passed on to others, creating sound business practices throughout the region.

sorghum 02 rhumathoi summer 2014

More and more internally-displaced persons are arriving in Aweil County East as the conflicts in South Sudan continue to drag on. We are glad to provide an oasis of teaching and learning.