Running in memory of Fr Victor-Luke SJ
This year Jesuit Missions London Marathon runners will be running in memory of Fr Victor-Luke Odhiambo SJ, a 62-year-old Jesuit priest who was tragically murdered in South Sudan in November 2018.
Fr Victor-Luke was a Jesuit priest who chose to work in one of the most dangerous and poorest places on earth. He was deeply committed to the people of South Sudan and to the teacher training centre in Cueibet where he worked. Fr Victor-Luke also had big plans to build a new college. Sadly, he was killed by assailants who broke into his accommodation during the night.
Jesuit Missions Director Paul Chitnis says,“I remember his passion for the poor, his energetic vision and selfless dedication to his work. Discussing the enormous challenges of training teachers in South Sudan, he told me: ‘We cannot despair. We have to do something.’”
South Sudan is the newest country in the world having received its independence from Sudan in 2011. Since 2013, it has been struggling through a civil war which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and killing around 400, 000. In addition, millions are suffering from acute food insecurity.
The UN says that up to 2.4 million children in South Sudan are not receiving an education. This is the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world. Fr Victor-Luke wanted to change this. Jesuit Missions is committed to continuing his legacy by supporting the teacher training centre in Cueibet and continuing in his mission to educate and inspire the millions of children in South Sudan who are unable to go to school.
Improving educational opportunities in South Sudan is key to the social transformation of the country. It helps to reduce the vulnerability of young boys being recruited into an armed group and of changing the culture and attitude to the education of girls.
Jesuit Missions supports the Jesuit Eastern Africa Province who, as well as the teacher training centre, also run a secondary school in Wau. At Loyola secondary school, the current priorities are to provide a new school bus, enhancing the safety and protection of the students, the building of new toilets to support the growing school population and an additional water tower to supply more water points to the students. The money raised by our London Marathon runners this year will support Jesuit Missions life changing work across the world including at Loyola Secondary School.
This year as part of the team, two Jesuits from the East African Province will be joining the Jesuit Missions team to run in memory of Fr Victor-Luke SJ. They are Fr Corbinian Kyara SJ and Fr Alex Wainaina SJ.
Read more about this year’s marathon team and support their fundraising efforts: 2019 Marathon team
This article was first published on Jesuit Missions's website.