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South Sudanese refugees offer thanks to Samaritan’s Purse and Canadian donors “that we are able to be alive”

June 14, 2017 • Uganda
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Samaritan's Purse is drilling water wells in Uganda to help refugees from South Sudan.

When a delegation from Samaritan’s Purse Canada visited South Sudanese refugees in Uganda recently, the refugees were eager to thank Samaritan’s Purse and its donors for drilling a well that is supplying much-need water for drinking, bathing, and more.

The South Sudanese, in the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda, blessed their Canadian visitors with spirited singing and dancing. Then the celebration turned somber, as the hosts staged several brief dramas to illustrate how they were treated in their homeland during its current civil war.

The refugees acted out chilling scenes in which their villages were swarmed and burned while men, women, and children were shot or had their throats slit. The ghastly dramas included ones in which women were beaten and raped.

All of these atrocities has been happening in South Sudan, with government and rebel soldiers taking part, since the civil war began in December 2013.

“Our women were sometimes robbed and raped when they went for firewood,” recalled Alfred Modi, a community leader in the area of the Bidibidi Settlement where we drilled the well.

“Other times, people would be forced to see their loved ones killed in front of them, or husbands would be forced to watch their wives raped, then told they must thank the rapists. The killing there is going higher.”

The continued killing—and the famine it has caused because farmers can’t plant or harvest their crops— has caused at least 2,000 people a day to flee from South Sudan into Uganda since July 2016.

They are being sheltered in Bidibidi and other several other settlements established by the Ugandan government in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and other organizations including Samaritan’s Purse.

We are helping, thanks to donations from Canadians like you, to drill wells, build communal and household latrines, administer food distributions, and supply seeds and farming tools.

When we drill wells and build latrines, we also provide health and hygiene training so refugees and local Ugandans learn the value of using latrines, washing their hands, and other safe practices.

East Africa Crisis Relief

With this in mind, the Samaritan’s Purse staff visiting Modi’s refugee community were delighted when his people acted out a drama that encouraged good health and hygiene practices, by showing lives of sickness and pain if people openly defecate in their fields, and/or fail to wash their hands.

“Samaritan’s Purse has helped us by preventing us from getting sick,” Modi said. “Because of your interventions, we are able to be alive . . . I want to tell donors the money they have donated has never gone in vain.”

Modi, a Christian, said the pressing need for more wells, latrines, hygiene training, and farming tools will not only continue, but likely escalate.

“We really request more donations,” he said. “We really hope for more funds to make the program continue.”

Please partner with us, through your donations and prayers, to help the hurting people of South Sudan.