Mariam Abdullah Adam had no milk to breastfeed her 45-day-old baby because “we have no food in the house,” she says. [Laura Sheahen/Caritas]
Nawal, 27, was a little confused when people showed up at her thatched hut one day, asking about her baby daughter. “They measured her arm to see how thick it was,” she remembers.
One thing wasn’t confusing: the family was hungry. “At home we don’t have any food,” she says simply. Though her husband earns some money as a daily labourer, there isn’t enough for the four children. “One of our little sons was in school, but he had to drop out. Our situation is bad.”
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Nawal’s situation has been bad for almost a decade, ever since the day her home village in Darfur was attacked. Shot in the leg and hiding under a tree, she thought she would die that day.
With thousands of others, Nawal escaped to one of Sudan’s camps for displaced people. They were safer there, but could no longer earn a living by farming. Some camp residents do tasks like brickmaking, making enough money to buy the day’s kilo or two of grain. But many mothers are prevented by illness, danger, or bad luck from earning enough to feed their families, and watch helplessly as their children grow thinner. Continue reading
by Laura Sheahen
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A programme staff member examines Halima’s hand. If leprosy symptoms are diagnosed early enough, patients do not lose their fingers.
Most people in England and Wales know of leprosy only from history books and the Bible. But in a few poor countries, neither the illness nor leper colonies are a thing of the past. For years, hundreds of leprosy patients lived in a place called Towanga near the border of Sudan and Chad.
“There wasn’t much food there, but it was enough,” says Mohammad, a healthy 20-year-old man living in the same camp as Halima. There was also leprosy medication available at a clinic near the border.
Everything changed when violence began in Darfur. Even leprosy patients weren’t spared: Towanga’s residents had to run for their lives.
“When we were attacked, I collected clothes and blankets,” says Dahwia, another grandmother in the camp. “We ran on foot, with no shoes. The skin of our feet was raw.”
Dahwia could run because her feet were not damaged by leprosy the way her hands were. The years had taken most of her fingers: “It started with one. Then when that finger was gone, the next finger started,” she remembers. “It happened each season—one more finger would go.”
Dahwia, Halima, and over 500 leprosy patients or their family members made it to Hassa Hissa, a camp for displaced people in central Darfur. Continue reading
In the third of five blogs about how we’ve responded to emergencies over the last 50 years, Mike Noyes, our Head of Humanitarian Programmes, reflects on the ongoing crisis in Darfur.
In 2003, conflict between a range of rival rebel movements, government-backed militias and the Sudanese armed forces grew into a major humanitarian emergency in the Darfur region of Sudan. There was widespread killing and the destruction of crops, herds and homes. Over two and half million people have been forced from their homes by the conflict, some several times. Since then, the conflict has ebbed and flowed but the prospects for a permanent peace remain bleak.
Working in partnership with other agencies has never been more crucial for us than in our response to the crisis in Darfur. Continue reading
Filed under CAFOD, Darfur
Water attendant Adam feeding the Solar Water point at Deleij camp in Darfur
Hazel Williams is our humanitarian coordinator for Darfur in western Sudan. She recently paid a visit to some of the many camps that house people who have fled fighting in the region.
Solar power is making an extraordinary difference in camps in Darfur, Sudan, by providing much needed water to those living there.
Filed under CAFOD, Darfur, Sudan
Young artist Velvet Zoe Ramos raised £400 to support our work in Darfur, with a remarkable art installation in London.
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Velvet created her installation, ‘The Feast: A Banquet of Crude Empathy’, as her final year exhibition for her BA degree at St Martin’s College in London. She was inspired to raise money for our work in Darfur after meeting one of our partners who’d been based in the region.
“I interviewed a Caritas employee who worked in Darfur,” says Velvet. “Because Darfur is forgotten in the media, I thought it would be a good opportunity to contribute in a small way.”
The guests at Velvet’s installation walked into a room with blank white walls and a sterile tiled floor to find a sign inviting them to a banquet. A menu was on display, listing types of food that aid agencies distribute in places like Darfur. Continue reading