What is the situation in South Sudan…?
The situation is critical, but we try to do our best. Our schools have remained open: two technical schools, three secondary schools and over 25 elementary schools, all managed directly by us Salesians. We also have an elementary school for displaced children, located in Juba.
What do the Salesians do in Juba?
In the territory of our mission we have a camp for internally displaced people from South Sudan, managed entirely by us and our collaborators, which hosts 10-15 thousand people depending on the period. We take care of everything: hospitality, accommodation, food, health care, clothes, school, education ...
The school for elementary for refugee children was launched in 2014. Today we have 3,500 students distributed in two shifts. Also in this case we think of everything: uniforms, stationery, books, a meal a day - which is often the only one for them ... We also take great care in the training of about 50 teachers, to train them in working with children who live in an very specific situation.
How is the camp organized?
There are both Christians and Muslims belonging to eighteen different tribes; they live together well, because in order to be accepted, the rules must be respected. We also have a very functional decentralized system: there are several groups of 50 families, each with a leader and a deputy coordinating their lives and taking and distributing foodstuffs. And within the camp each is registered and has a card, which they must present to request the things reserved for them.
Do you promote other activities besides school?
In Juba we started an agricultural project to help people be more independent. We are supporting them in many ways: by offering seeds, equipment, training. What is asked of them is that they take care of the cultivation and harvesting. There are also many other things we are doing ... Some women do tailoring work, others are hairdressers, cooks, waitresses ... We support them so that they can start working and become independent.
Looking to the future, we hope that peace will come soon, and when this comes we will begin the second phase of our mission: to help in the reconstruction.