Written by Phyllis Richards
The crisis in Darfur, Sudan made the news regularly in 2003-2005. A conflict between the government of Sudan and rebel groups left hundreds of thousands dead and millions uprooted from their villages which had been attacked and burned by the Janjaweed (men on horses with guns).
Books were written, celebrities visited and the crisis in Darfur became international news. The United Church of Christ supported Dear Sudan and Tents of Hope, awareness and advocacy raising campaigns initiated by a UCC pastor. Countless UCC members wrote advocacy letters, and painted tents. One Great Hour of Sharing provided thousands of dollars for food, water, shelter and medical care. Unfortunately, Darfur rarely makes the news these days, though 2.7 million Sudanese remain uprooted in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).
Consistently, over the nine years since the crisis began, the United Church of Christ, through One Great Hour of Sharing, has continued to accompany the displaced people of Darfur, providing support for health care, water systems and latrines, and supplemental feeding programs for malnourished mothers and children.
Ms. Susan Sanders, UCC Minister for Global Sharing of Resources, visited the Hissahissa, Hamidya and Khamsadagaig IDP camps last October. Community leaders of each camp expressed their appreciation to the members of the UCC for their OGHS gifts and asked Ms. Sanders to thank the UCC and assure them the gifts have made a difference. “We are still alive,” commented one sheik.
Some 2.7 million people, mostly women and children, remain uprooted in Darfur. Lack of safety and civil protection prevent them from returning home. Mohamed Yonis of the United Nations has speculated these uprooted people may never go home. “It’s possible they could be here forever,” says Yonis.
Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing enable the United Church of Christ hopes to accompany the people of Darfur for the long haul. Thank you.