, 29 June, 2020 / 8:20 PM
As the coronavirus lockdown continues to wreak havoc in South Sudan with various vulnerable groups being hit the most, the country’s Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) comprising over 5,000 registered members has distributed food items to women and persons with disabilities, orphans and gender-based violence (GBV) survivors.
In an interview with ACI Africa Friday, June 26, YWCA Executive Director in South Sudan, Modi Enosa Mbaraza said the donation in Juba targeted widows, orphans, people with disabilities, and victims of rape.
“We thought with the COVID-19, women are most affected, like those ones who are selling some little food, now with the lockdown and other things it has affected them badly because they haven’t been selling anything for months,” Ms Enosa said, adding that items distributed included maize flour, beans, salt, soap, cooking oil and sugar.
She said the beneficiaries, estimated to be close to 30 women in different food distribution centers, include those from different faiths, ages, and backgrounds.
The goal of the South Sudanese non-denominational YWCA is to realize a society where the human rights of women and girls and a sustainable environment are promoted, achieved and protected through women’s leadership.
“We don’t have much to offer the women apart from food items to sustain them and their families as they look for creative ways to start providing for their families again,” the YWCA Executive Director said, and added, “We hope that part of the money they would have spending buying food will be invested in small businesses to get them to their feet.”
Appreciating the act of kindness by YWCA, Margaret Marcello, a widow with 10 children said life had been difficult for her since the death of her husband in June last year, and that the situation had been aggravated by the COVID-19 restrictions in the East-Central African country.
“The situation is really bad and I don’t remember the last time I got food since the onset of coronavirus. Sometimes, I try to get food for my children and when I get vegetables, I don’t get flour. Getting someone to give you 10 kilos of flour and other food items doesn’t happen every day. I am really grateful,” said Marcello.
“During this corona time, there is no work completely; we even don’t know what to do. When we get vegetables, we never find flour,” she said, adding, “With the maize flour given to us by YWCA, we will be able to eat with our children.”
South Sudan’s YWCA operates in Tumbora-Yambio diocese, Ezra, Maridi, Mundri, Juba and Wau. This year, the members are thinking of expanding to Kapeota. The association includes Catholic women working for the empowerment, leadership and rights of women and girls.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa