Diocese of York

Mothers' Union South Sudan

A planned £50k Mothers’ Union emergency relief project to help feed, clothe and provide post-conflict trauma support for the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing from the civil war in South Sudan into neighbouring Uganda and surrounding countries, has received public backing from the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who is personally seeking to highlight the severity of the situation across the region.

In total, more than 1.5 million refugees have now fled the civil war in South Sudan into Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and the surrounding region. The UN estimates another 2 million people are internally displaced within South Sudan as a result of the crisis. 60% of the refugees are children and they regularly arrive in the refugee camps suffering from acute malnutrition. However, the crisis is receiving little international attention and is consequently chronically underfunded.

The Archbishop brought the issue to the attention of the General Synod when they met recently in London, and he called upon its members to financially support the Mothers’ Union relief project. The Ugandan born Archbishop urged churches to support the Mothers’ Union campaign,

“For over three years, a civil war has raged in South Sudan, the world’s newest country. As Christians we must come together to pray for peace and to act practically, by financially supporting programmes such as the Mothers’ Union’s relief project in northern Uganda, to help the thousands of South Sudanese that have been forced to flee, start on the long road to recovery.”

The first phase of the Mothers’ Union project is focused around Madi & West Nile Diocese in northern Uganda and involves working with local churches to provide practical support and training. Currently there are over 500,000 people living in makeshift accommodation in the Diocese. Sexual violence, child abuse, and post-conflict trauma are common occurrences. Mothers’ Union teams will work with other NGOs as part of the relief effort, but will uniquely focus on providing displaced peoples with spiritual, psychosocial and post-conflict trauma recovery support.

Nicola Lawrence, Head of Policy and Programmes at Mothers’ Union, said,

“Public awareness of the civil war, drought, famine and acute poverty which have devastated this region is incredibly low, so we are grateful for Archbishop Sentamu’s backing and public call to action.”

Through our grassroots members Mothers’ Union is working towards rebuilding communities by providing care and support for some 150,000 people who urgently need to recover from the traumas and nightmare they have been through. Nicola continued,

“NGOs come and go dependent on the crisis of the day but the Church will always be there, providing sanctity against rebel attacks and a foundation from where people can start to rebuild their lives.”

There are over 210,000 local Mothers’ Union members in Uganda actively engaged in responding to the needs of their communities. Their work is focused on community mobilisation, income generation and sustainable development projects.

To support the work of Mothers’ Union in response to the South Sudan crisis or simply for more information please go to www.mothersunion.org/southsudan