Following the peace agreement signed in 2005 between Sudan and South Sudan, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Sudan asked the Superiors General Union in Rome to help them meet the basic needs of the country such as education, health and pastoral care. It was after a survey period that the organization Solidarity with South Sudan was born. Its mission is to “create educational, health and pastoral institutions and programs that help to empower South Sudanese to build a just and peaceful society.”
The first Solidarity members went to South Sudan in 2008. Priests, Brothers and Sisters of various religious congregations living in mixed communities and working together, pooled their creative talents, abilities, energy and charisms. Solidarity is currently composed of 20 religious congregations of 16 different nationalities working in South Sudan. Brother Pierre Ouattara FSC is a member of the Board looking out for the project.
Three De La Salle Christian Brothers are among those working in South Sudan, including the Executive Director, Brother Bill FIRMAN FSC, and the Director of Teacher Education, Fr. Denis LOFT, both of Australia . There are eight African members, including Brother Joseph ALAK, a South Sudan native. Solidarity trains primary school teachers, nurses and midwives, and offers pastoral and agricultural programs. All training sessions are in English.
HELP SOUGHT: SHORT-TERM VOLUNTEERING IN 2016 & 2017
From time to time, Solidarity accepts short-term volunteers to work alongside “permanent” mentors from the Solidarity with South Sudan. There are options concerning tutoring for new teachers in the elementary sections, computer education, nurse training and midwifes, pastoral programs such as care of traumas and agriculture. The timely application period is January and February during which the teacher training program is offered in several locations, but help is welcomed at any time during the year, except in December when students and many employees are on holidays. The minimum volunteer period is two months, but in special circumstances, shorter courses may be possible.
No prior experience as a trainer of teachers or nurses is required, but volunteers must be qualified. People with good practical skills could also help to maintain and develop the project. Volunteers pay their own travel ticket to arrive in South Sudan or do pay their congregation or their employer. Solidarity will make all arrangements in South Sudan for meals, accommodation and transport free for volunteers. There is a demand of procedure: obtaining a medical certificate and, for the religious, the approval of the Superior concerned. The living conditions are normally good with rooms but no air conditioning and it will be hot.
Fr. Bill FIRMAN
Source: RELAF – Newsletter Nº 18