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!


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