In December the staff and students at IH Belfast did an outstanding job of donating clothes, toys, books and toiletries to send out to South Sudan. Friends and family dug deep to also contribute to shipping costs of the four large boxes of goodies we were sending out. Finally the shipment got underway after a last-minute requirement to fumigate its contents (!), and arrived in Nairobi on 22 December. After a road journey across Kenya and South Sudan they arrived with our man, Tony, in Juba in the New Year 2016.
Tony had been in contact with a charity in Juba called Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC), which provides vulnerable displaced and orphaned children in Juba with a safe space to sleep, eat, learn and play in order that they can develop into young adults fulfilling their full potential.
This is where our / your donations ended their journey.
(below) This is Cathy Groenendijk. She saw a need for refuge and renewal for South Sudan’s street children and took action. What started as a drop-in center operating from one house has now become a home for 40 children.
From Tony, our man in Juba:
I have just visited the site and spent some time with the children at CCC. I had a really good time with them. Having seen the place for myself I was impressed and believe that they do a great job there and need every penny they can get.
They have put the boxes away for now but will work through them in the next day or two and send us some pics and the like when the items are being distributed.
They house about 50 girls from all ages and from all over the country who have lost parents, been abused in many ways or have been left homeless and abandoned, and ten boys. But they also sponsor about a thousand kids through education, including all the associated items ie school uniforms, bags, pens and notebooks and sanitary items for girls.
Some of the kids have seen unbelievable things – villages burnt down, rape, pillage, and have suffered neglect, exploitation, violence – all the other things you can’t imagine. But are in really good spirits. I have to say I was very, very moved.
CCC takes great care of them and is run by a lady called Cathy Groenendijk who formed CCC and the charity in 2007. She has volunteers and employees from South Sudan and The UK.
Also, Jo pass on my thanks to all the people who donated and helped in any way, shape or form and rest assured the items have gone to a deserving and very grateful cause.
(below) Here is a lovely and simple photograph of Barack & Dorothy on a normal day at CCC. A play a day keeps the doctor away.
The civil war has left many children orphaned and thousands displaced throughout the country, with the majority living in the capital Juba. CCC identify and work with these children, addressing first-hand issues such as the exploitation of child soldiers and improving educational opportunities for girls.
In an interview just over a year ago with ‘Humans of New York’ – Cathy Groenendijk said “We can talk about happy moments,” she said. “But let’s not ask these children about their saddest moments, or times they felt afraid. Many of them were malnourished, abandoned, or regularly sexually abused. Some of them have witnessed extreme violence. When journalists ask them to relive these memories, it can set them back for an entire month. They begin to act out. Often their trauma is so bad, that when the children first arrive, they can be very hateful towards me. But I feel blessed by the hate. Because I know it’s part of the healing process. And if they need someone to hate so that they can heal, I’m glad it can be me.”
From program manager John Fenning, CCC:
Thank you so much for the wonderful collection of toys, clothes, puzzles, and assorted other things you sent us.
When the guys had gone yesterday I had to take a look inside such a vast donation, I was with the CCC founder Cathy who immediately said: ‘this is exactly what we need’ with reference to some of the baby things, so thank you so much!
As I was explaining to the guys yesterday, CCC has historically been a home for older girls but we have looked after babies in extreme circumstances and over the past months have taken in two–one of whom was born to a mother with mental health problems, sadly kept in prison. The other was abandoned and picked up by one of the ladies from the graveyard site who tried to leave her with us. We did our best to support this woman to look after the child, but after several months she could cope no longer–she herself had 5 children! So we were able to find temporary care for this child with a Dutch couple (grandparents with their oldest grandchild in their teens!). We are looking for foster / adoptive parents.
Anyway, we’ll have more for you soon, but just wanted to share briefly about the encouragement and help your donations and support had given.
With best wishes, John
Check out CCC’s website and facebook page for more information on their work:
We’ll be posting some more photographs from CCC later in the month…
So keep an eye on the IH Belfast website and facebook page as well!
Watch this space for any more donations that we will be collecting in the future for South Sudan! Xx