Running London for South Sudan

POST BY Ruth

Chris Krall SJ and a Womble
Chris Krall SJ and a Womble

This Sunday, 14 runners are taking on the challenge of the London Marathon for Jesuit Missions. The funds they raise will support young people struggling to survive in one of the most volatile regions in the world.

Late in 2011, thousands fled extreme violence, attacks on civilians and destruction of property in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. They sought refuge in their newly-formed neighbour, South Sudan. But violence soon caught up with them. In 2013, civil war erupted in South Sudan and the refugees were trapped between two devastating conflicts.

The communities who host these refugees found themselves equally vulnerable. War has crippled the capacity of local government to provide basic services to its population. Ignored by many aid agencies, the host communities face irregular food distribution, reduced health facilities and a dysfunctional education system.

In this context, it is young people who stand to lose the most. Boys face conscription into murderous armed groups. Girls are three times more likely to die in childbirth than finish primary school.

Jesuit Missions, alongside the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), is working to change that.

“The most effective way to improve the lives of young people in places where they are oppressed is education,” says Jill Drzewiecki of JRS International. “This is truly what we do best: providing individuals with opportunity to heal, learn and to support themselves and their families.”

In the South Sudanese state of Maban, Jesuit Missions and JRS run life-changing education projects for refugees and their host communities. Working within a volatile environment, they are securing safe spaces for children to learn. Training teachers, providing school supplies and organising recreational activities helps children whose education has been brutally disrupted by war get back on track. Jesuit Missions and JRS staff also support children with psychosocial care. Through these projects, children who have endured unimaginable suffering can begin to rebuild their lives. 

“This assistance emboldens them to make positive contributions to their communities, present and future,” says JRS’ Jill. “This is key to helping girls in South Sudan avoid early marriage and boys keep out of armed groups.” 

All the money raised by Jesuit Missions marathon runners this weekend will help secure a better future for the young people of Maban.

To contribute and change the life of a young person in need visit Jesuit Missions website

Or you can  Meet the team