In our spring update, we told you that we had begun working with refugees from South Sudan in camps that are being set up in the West Nile region of north west Uganda.
The refugees are fleeing the civil war that is taking place in South Sudan, the effects of which have been exacerbated by the severe drought that has been affecting all of East Africa. The UN estimates that the number of people who have sought refuge in Uganda is now close to 1 million.
We began working in the camps as part of a combined effort with the local authorities and other agencies. Our main focus was providing extra food for malnourished mothers, children and pregnant women, and sanitary products for women and girls in the camps.
Many of the people who have been helping with these distributions are refugees, the majority of whom are Christians. Over time, our staff began praying and reading the bible with them. Getting to know them, we’ve seen the many issues that they are facing, which may require a holistic approach.
It is important for those affected by the conflict, to begin addressing their pain and start a process of reconciliation.
One of the biggest problems is the need to address the trauma and pain that so many are feeling. The conflict runs down tribal lines and members of the different tribes are housed in separate camps to keep the peace. While this is a short term solution, it will lead to conflict in generations to come.
It is important for those affected by the conflict, to begin addressing their pain and start a process of reconciliation. Many of the NGOs working in the area have knowledge of reconciliation processes, but these can often be very prescriptive. Using the principles of PEP we saw an opportunity to bring an approach to reconciliation which could bring whole life transformation. This is an approach we hope will allow communities to take ownership of the process and go at their own pace.
The process of developing and implementing this is already underway. We are currently working on new bible studies for the course, and we have shared our vision for the work with the pastors from local PAG churches who will facilitate the courses in the camps. The next step will be to train them how to lead these new bible studies once they are finished.
We are very excited at the possibilities of this new course, we hope that it will bring together the different groups from South Sudan. We hope it will also begin to build bonds between the refugees and local Ugandan churches where communities worry about the camps, especially with the troubles caused by the drought.
Pray with us
Please pray for:
Pray for the church in South Sudan, that it can take an active part in the reconciliation process.
Please pray for the church in South Sudan, that it will be strengthened and equipped for the road ahead.
Please pray for the church in Uganda, that it would build up and strengthen South Sudanese Christians in the country who can support the church in South Sudan when they return home.
The spiritual aspect of this crisis is being missed at the moment. Please pray that God will help PAG address the spiritual needs of the refugees in these camps.