Saturday, 22 October 2011

Together for Sudan visits Omdurman Women’s prison.

On 20 October the TFS eye care team led by Dr Nabila Radi visited Omdurman Women’s prison and saw 113 patients, of whom 90 were women and 17 children.  There are reportedly 180 children in all staying with their mothers in the prison.  Medicines were provided for 88 patients and arrangements made for 37 women to have their sight tested by a volunteer refractionist so that corrective lenses can be supplied by TFS.  It is worth noting that 50 of the women seen on this visit were studying in literacy classes in the prison.  So it is all the more important that they see well enough to read.

Three patients were also referred for operations, which will be carried out at the police hospital as the women are not allowed to leave custody to have the operations done elsewhere.   

Alan Goulty

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Kadugli Office Update

It is a great sadness that the TfS office in Kadugli, South Kordofan, has been closed since fighting swept across the area in early June.  None of our colleagues were injured but among items looted from our Kadugli office was a very expensive microscope essential for eye surgery during Eye Care Outreach. We remain hopeful that the microscope will be returned and that  – working through the Kadugli office – we may be able to continue Eye Care Outreach in the Kadugli hospital. We hope that a colleague from our Khartoum office will be able to visit Kadugli soon.  Meanwhile, our loyal guard, who was sent away by soldiers before the looting, is back in the office for which we had paid rent for several months in advance.  However, our TfS Field Representative is now working in the Khartoum office.  Alan and I were denied permission to go to Kadugli on our recent trip.

Lillian Craig Harris - TfS Director

Together for Sudan in the Nuba Mountains - click here to learn more

A group of trainees outside the TfS Kadugli office and project centre 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Lambeth Palace Event Thanks

The Sudanese Ambassador attended
The TfS fundraising event at London’s Lambeth Palace was a major success – and also great fun. Lady Patey and Dr. Christine Green arranged the event with excellent support from Lambeth Palace.  Over 8,000 sterling was raised, some 4,600 during the auction of promises. The Barbershop Quartet, which has sung for us on several occasions, was another highlights of the event and I avoided creating a third highlight by not falling off the ladder which I climbed to give a short speech.  Together for Sudan is enormously grateful to Lambeth Palace personnel for their assistance and hospitality. TfS Patron Archbishop Rowan Williams was in Africa and thus unable to attend the event. 

Lillian's comments at the event

Read the report on our website

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A Trip to Juba

During an early October visit to Sudan  Alan and I make a quick trip to Juba, now the capital of South Sudan.   Two of our substantive staff from Khartoum, including  Deputy Country Coordinator Victor, had moved to Juba and we hoped to check out how feasible it might be to expand TfS work to South Sudan. We were impressed by the vitality of the new state and the need for literacy training for women, HIV/AIDS Awareness outreach and other work  which would fit our projects.  Although TfS has at present no funding to begin working in Juba we would welcome all donations to do so!

Lillian Craig Harris

Monday, 17 October 2011

Lambeth Palace Comments

Lillian Craig Harris, director of Together for Sudan spoke at our recent charity auction in Lambeth palace London. Her comments are replicated below.

11 October 2011

Lillian speaking at the event
Good evening and thank you for joining Together for Sudan for this fundraising event which is also a celebration of our service to the Sudanese people.  I am grateful to Together for Sudan Patron Archbishop Rowan Williams and his staff for inviting us here this evening even though the Archbishop is currently in Africa.

Many thanks are due as well to Dr. Christine Green and to Lady Patey for the many hours they have spent organizing this event.  And, of course, special thanks to Peter Arbuthnot, our auctioneer, and to member of the Barbershop Quartet who have sung for us on several occasions.  I am also grateful to fellow Together for Sudan Trustees Norman Swanney and Adrian Thomas as well as to Dave Lewis, the Together for Sudan webmaster, who publicised this event. And, of course, my great appreciation to all our helpers and supporters, especially you who are here this evening.

Together for Sudan has been a blessed charity since it began in the late 1990s.  Our educational and health care projects remain in great demand in the Khartoum area and in South Kordofan where we have a second office in Kadugli.  However, the charity presently faces severe financial difficulties as well as disruption of our work due to violence in South Kordofan. Our Kadugli office has been closed since early June due to fighting and subsequent looting of our office there.  We also face the challenge of recent loss of southern colleagues who have left Khartoum for South Sudan with the birth of that new nation.

Alan and I arrived in the UK yesterday after visits to both Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, and Juba, the capital of the new nation of South Sudan.  We are invited to begin work in South Sudan and even have there two former colleagues from our Khartoum office who would gladly work for us in Juba.  The needs and opportunities are enormous and we lack only the necessary funding. Today many people are reaching out to help South Sudan but relatively few are engaged directly with the critically important education of women and children.

Sudan’s present circumstances are the greatest challenge which Together for Sudan has faced in our more than 15 years of service to the Sudanese people. From the beginning – and at the request of Sudanese women – the work which became Together for Sudan has brought Muslims and Christians together in service to the poor. We hope to continue this work because it is a peace building gift which Muslims and Christians can give to one another. Our basic intent is to cross tribal, religious and social barriers in order to make peace by demonstrating that people of different faiths and backgrounds can work together to help other people in need.

This is who we are and what we believe.
In our present circumstances of combined peril and opportunity, I am reminded of my mother who was a missionary nurse and loved people of all sorts, mothers and babies in particular.  Mom taught me to look on, rather than look away from, the suffering of others.  When there were difficult times and seemingly insurmountable obstacles she would say, “Sometimes you just have to do it!”  And then she would get busy helping.

So what would she do if she were here today?  I think that she would reach out to desperate Sudanese women who long for education for themselves and their children.  Several years ago when I asked displaced women in Darfur what they needed they cried out “Teach us to read and we will help ourselves!”  With that mandate, Together for Sudan carries on although several of our projects are currently unfunded and the future is not clear.

Thank you for joining us at this critically important time for all Sudanese people.  It remains extremely important that we as individuals ask ourselves “Am I my sister’s keeper?”  And that we respond positively.  Thank you all for being with us tonight.  Enjoy!