South Sudan, the world's newest country, is afflicted by war and widespread disruptions. During the past three years, conflict, lootings and famine have severely affected more than one million children suffering from malnourishment throughout South Sudan.
The Salesians are based in Gumbo (Juba) and also Maridi, Tonj and Wau; their work is centred on education, emergency relief and building structures to overcome poverty. This includes teaching better farming and agricultural cultivation as 80% of vegetables, fruit and cereals are imported.
At Gumbo two grinding mills have been purchased enabling 80 local women to crush cassava, maize and wheat to make flour. This is used both in the home and to sell at the local market, thus providing some income for their families. The mills are worked in shifts to allow many to make use of them.
Two Salesian colleges in Tonj and Wau have remained opened despite the civil war, with students from several tribes living and training together to be teachers, nurses and midwives. It is hoped that the next generation of leaders will be promotors of peace and goodwill.
The Don Bosco Centres continue to provide emergency accommodation for 15,000 people in need of food and shelter. In addition, several Salesians work with the homeless in refugee camps welcoming and supporting those in need. The overall goal is to promote peace, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation, law enforcement and good governance. The Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians are also collaborating with the Salesians in offering food, shelter and health aid.
The height of the dry season is severe as harvests are considerably diminished and the food crisis peaks. Donations to provide for the purchase of much needed food and necessities are required.