Little girls are suffering most in Sudan crisis

 A nun working in the Southern Sudan said that little girl orphans are the most tragically affected in Sudan's drama. Sr Fulgida Gasparini, Comboni provincial for Southern Sudan, told Fides: "In the local culture little girls are raised to serve the family. They go out to collect firewood, water, look after the flocks etc. When a little girl loses both parents she remains in the 'extended family' the clan. If this is positive on the one hand because it guarantees a minimum of protection on the other it is a tragedy because the little girl will have to be a servant to many more people" she said. "Another serious problem is that of child soldiers demobilised at the end of the war" the missionary added. "In our schools we have special classes for them because they are so deeply traumatised from what they experienced and need to share this pain in order to overcome it." Sr Fulgida has been in Sudan since 2000 and since June she has co-ordinated the work of 42 Comboni sisters in this province. "At present my mission is at "Saint Josephine Bakhita Formation Centre" at Kitale run by the diocese of Rumbek. The centre has a minor seminary, a catechists formation centre, a school for nurses and a school for teachers. Thanks to improved security conditions these structures which used to be in Kenya, are soon to be moved further towards the interior of Sudan." Sr Fulgida said: "Besides Rumbek Diocesan Centre we have two communities working among the semi nomad Dinka people who even moved to swampy areas to escape violence of war. These two communities run dispensaries and schools and help with basic pastoral work and promotion of women". "Two years ago we opened a new community at Gidel in the Nuba mountains. The people here the Nuba are sedentary farmers. They too were affected by the war. They were bombed, raided, raped but they remained on their land because the mountains served as protection." "There is a community at Nzara diocese of Tombura - Yambo where the people are Azande sedentary farmers. The land in the region is extremely fertile but without roads farmers cannot get their products to a market. It is sad to see so much fruit left to rot. There are no roads or schools or hospitals and spreading AIDS is a serious health problem." "In southern Sudan on the border with Uganda with have a community at Lomin working with the Kuku and the community at Nyal in Malakal diocese among the Nuer another semi-nomad people. In this area there are abundant water resources but neither roads or infrastructures." "Comboni sisters are engaged in pastoral work and in development programmes striving to valorise and increase local Church resources" says Sr Fulgida. "In five years for example at Rumbek Diocesan Centre, a living example of the validity of Comboni's plan- Save Africa with Africa - myself and three other sisters trained over 250 catechists and 200 school teachers who now teach in rural schools for children who would otherwise not go to school. Our aim is to promote through education and work respect for the dignity of the human person. This task is more complex than giving just material help because it eans involving the people and immersion in the local culture." "To reach as many people as possible we want to start a radio station to broadcast education and pastoral programmes all over southern Sudan." Sr Fulgida concluded with a call for help: "Please help us rebuild southern Sudan. Millions of displaced persons and refugees who are coming back to their villages have nothing. The work of rebuilding must involve the people so they feel that the school, the water hole are for them and for their children, and we must also teach them to run these initiatives in the years ahead." Source: Fides

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