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Sudan: Coming home

In an MCC supported sewing project in Juba, South Sudan, toddlers, Ester Keji, (left) and Emmanuel Kenyi watch their mothers, Jerisa Muro and Hellen Poni, talk with tailoring instructor Mustafa Atrima.

In an MCC supported sewing project in Juba, South Sudan, toddlers, Ester Keji, (left) and Emmanuel Kenyi watch their mothers, Jerisa Muro and Hellen Poni, talk with tailoring instructor Mustafa Atrima. MCC photo by Nina Linton

Sharing and gaining new skills amidst scars of war 

Gladys Terichow
08/15/2012

A year after gaining independence, South Sudan is still reeling from decades of civil war that left some 2 million people dead and 4 million displaced from their homes. 

MCC’s Sudan: Coming Home campaign, a five-year campaign ending in 2013, enables MCC to support projects including those that empower women, strengthen livelihoods, build peace, promote nonviolent solutions to conflict and improve food security.  

Although the fund-raising campaign is ending, MCC's work in Sudan and South Sudan will continue, said Judy Zimmerman Herr, an MCC area director for East Africa. 

"MCC will continue our 40 year history of partnering with churches and communities in both countries to help people build secure and peaceful lives for themselves and their children,” she said.

During the past five years, in partnership with Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), an MCC partner agency since 1972, newly formed peace committees have been established in 10 communities in Sudan and South Sudan. 

“The goal is to help people resolve their problems at the community level so that they can live in peace and harmony,” said Gladys Mananyu, who is responsible for SCC’s peace and justice programs in the Eastern Equatorial region, South Sudan. 

MCC also supports interfaith peacebuilding seminars that help Christians and Muslims get to know each other. The seminars are coordinated by the Organization for Nonviolence and Development (ONAD). 

“I have seen the suffering of people who have lived without peace,” said Moses Monday John, one of the founders and the executive director of ONAD. “I have also suffered injustices. If we don’t do anything our children will live under the same conditions. That is why I have chosen peace.” 

Each year 20 women in the capital city of Juba, South Sudan, participate in a six-month training program where they learn sewing, life skills and small business management skills with the hope of building a better future for themselves and their children. 

Partnering with the Episcopal Church of Sudan’s Mother’s Union, MCC has been supporting this program since it was started in 2009.  

“I feel so good about what we are doing,” said Florence Ayikoru, founder and coordinator of the project. “We are changing lives. We are making a difference. Without MCC, we could not have this project. That is why I say that MCC is the heart of God in the heart of Africa.”