8 Year OId Refugee John Paul
Meet 8-Year-Old Refugee John-Paul and His 4 Year Old Brother
Right now, about 4.5 million people are facing severe food insecurity. The situation is dire: thousands of displaced men, women, and children are giving up everything to escape from corrupt government groups. Whether they flee the violence of the civil war or remain behind, however, the threat of starvation is a constant worry.
We recently visited the refugee campgrounds of Bidi Bidi. It is heart-wrenching to discover that 80% of the children arriving at this camp are without their parents.
Our team was able to hear some of the powerful personal stories of these lost children.
Meet 8-year-old John-Paul. He is one of the thousands of children who recently arrived at the refugee camp. He came without his parents caring for his 4 year-old brother and two younger cousins. John-Paul had no choice but to run from his home and bring what little he could carry – the last chicken from his farm and a small bag of belongings. He is living a nightmare most of us cannot imagine. He has no idea when, or if, he will ever be able to return home. For now, he and his young family will be sleeping in makeshift tents, living in hay fields in the sweltering heat, and unsure where their next meal will come from.
This could be your son or grandson. It could be your daughter or granddaughter. It is hard to imagine the awful bloodshed they witness and the trials these poor children must endure.
During this time of famine and crisis, a unique refugee situation has evolved. Their neighbors in Uganda have opened their hearts and offered land where their brothers and sisters in Christ can find refuge. Ugandan farmers are offering unused portions of their land to refugees to help them through this incredible time of need. With the help of donations, aid organizations are working to turn these areas into working camps. After each family or group registers at the camp they receive about 50 square meters of land, a little water, and a small plastic sheet. The refugees then weed the small plot and construct a small makeshift tent from what sticks they can find and use the plastic sheets as a roof. These structures are not stable or strong and will likely collapse in the rain and wind, especially as the rainy season approaches.
Everywhere you look, there are children sitting on the ground in the dusty dirt courtyard. These innocent families and their children are facing a grave shortage of food and are barely surviving.
Many of these refugees, including John-Paul, will not survive without our immediate aid and support. We are doing all we can to bring food, drinking water and the basics needed to survive in Bidi Bidi, but we can’t do it alone. We need your help.
The refugees are extremely resilient and hard working. Though these are desperate times, the refugees still show glimmers of optimism despite what must feel like endless difficulties. Families that have settled into the camps are already working together to make bricks and construct more permanent homes. However, for these camps really to be safely inhabitable, wells need to be bored, latrines dug, schools constructed and seeds planted. And we can only do this with your help. The number of refugees arriving are very quickly overwhelming the camps. Many more will die in this place of sanctuary if we don’t work quickly to equip the camps properly.
“Over a quarter of a million children are already severely malnourished,” said Jeremy Hopkins, a UNICEF official in South Sudan. “If we do not reach these children with urgent aid, many of them will die.”
The UN calls the strife in South Sudan the greatest humanitarian crisis the world has seen since 1945. Many aid organizations have fled the area due to the unrelenting chaos and staggering violence. With the collapse of the government and the constant stream of bloodshed, the Catholic Church is the only functioning institution left in the country.
This makes the efforts of the Sudan Relief Fund vital. We remain committed to staying close to the people and helping those in need of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid.
We are blessed to have generous donors like you who make our lifesaving work possible.
Sincerely,Neil A. Corkery President
p.s. Your donation will help provide life-saving food, water, shelter, medicines, and other humanitarian aid. Your generosity today could save lives tomorrow!