by Sr Josepheine Muruji
ZEREDA (PEACE) WOMEN GROUP
The peace group is engaged in learning tailoring and sewing skills with the aim of helping women to become self- reliant in the future.
Tailoring is viewed as men’s job in this particular area and therefore women do not seem to be interested in learning the skill. There were no women tailors before in this location but now they have shown the interest and that they can shine in the area of garment making. The idea of starting the sewing project came from some interested women who have stood firm to face the challenge, aware that their education background is poor.
The illiteracy level is very high especially among the women. Women are less privileged and are the victims of early marriages. Many of them dropped out of school at a young are either due to lack of fees or early teenage pregnancy. Since there is no future hope of getting sustainable support, women begin brewing the local brew and sell the stuff at a local market to get some small money to help their families.
My main job is to manage the project by providing the necessary tools required by the group like the sewing machines, buying the materials, that is, cloths and the threads and other accessories necessary in garment making. I am also involved in the teaching and supervision of the learning to see to it that women learn the right things because they are not only being prepare for the local people but also that they can be employed in a textile industry in the future. I am assisted by a local tailor who is quite happy to help women acquire the skill.
- The group has completed 20 school uniforms for girls in the primary school- a blouse and a skirt.
- This year the group is engaged in making school uniforms for kindergarten children and have also been involved in sewing clothes for others and for their own children.
- The income gained helps in support of their families.
They are happy and appreciate the support in terms of teaching and encouraging them in their learning.
I am concern about the life and the education of the girl child in this particular part of the country. The young girls are most vulnerable in the society. First and foremost they are the baby sitters for their younger brothers and sisters. They have a big responsibility at home and this delays their going to school at the right time. By the time they get to school they are big and their needs are many such that parents cannot meet them. Due to this fact of life the young girls end up dropping out of school to fend for themselves. In the process of trying to get heads meet, they find themselves getting married at a young age or they become pregnant and are left with the whole responsibility of bringing up a baby.
In order to support girls in their education, I introduced some activities where they can come to learn and acquire a skill. These activities includes: bead work, knitting and cultivation. The income generated from the bead work goes for their school uniforms, school fees and for personal needs. During the activities, I also get the opportunity to talk to them on the value and importance of education, issues of women and girls and hygiene.
Women and girls participate in the international women’s day celebrations. Women in this area did not know about this day and I took time to hold workshops in various places in the diocese to sensitize them on the women’s day and to share on the theme of the day. The reports that I get during the follow up is impressive and very encouraging that women are now inviting their counter parts to celebrate with them and of course men are volunteering to go to the kitchen to prepare and cook a meal which is shared with all those who participate. Women are becoming more aware of their rights
St Paul Kindergarten
St Paul kindergarten is a community school which was started in 2012 and it is situated in Rimenze parish centre. Due to the growing number of children, the community felt the need for a school that would help and support their children in the area of education.
I am the school bursar and I am also charged with the management role seeing to the needs and working with the children in the classroom set up, teachers and the maintenance of the school.
I am also involved in talking to the parents especially on the value of education and urge them to support their children in their education.
SR. JOANA MAI KYI – MEDICAL, SOCIAL AND PASTORAL ACTIVITIES
I am Sr. Joana Mai Hla Kyi. I am a member of Riimenze Solidarity Community. My ministry is the health and spiritual care of the sick and elderly in and around Riimenze, a village about 60km off Yambio the capital of the Western Equiatoria State of South Sudan.
I accompany the isolated communities in Riimenze, cut-off by deep forest and tall grasses, Where I minister to the poor, sick, dying and outcasts of the society, direct response to the core principle of the Gospel and Catholic Social Teachings. SSS, through me is providing skills training and information on herbal medicine and body massage, reflexology as well as delivering some basic first aid.
Through my pastoral visits, we communicate to the local communities the value of compassion. My attention is chiefly to the outcasts of the society showing others the dignity of human life and the basic spiritual needs that we all have. Above all, my visits communicate to these that they are not alone and to those around, that everyone is called to care for the less fortunate in his or her community.
This year Br Christian and I twice a week, trace our paths through the bushes of Riimenze village to see the sick elderly, many of whom cannot come out or access out clinic or other pastoral projects of SSS.
In our small clinic, I treats all manner of illnesses within my competence with local natural medicine and some chemical medicine as well. I am currently training two South Sudanese men and six women in therapeutic message and reflexology.
SSS Pastoral Outreach and Natural Medicine project is based in Riimenze, from where it fans out to other villages around. This service has always been one of the foundational activities of the Riimenze community since its inception. Chief among my target activities is prevention malaria with herbal medicine . This year I have organized Capacitar and local herbal medicine workshops three times in three different villages.
I am a professionally trained nurse. Coupled with this I trained in Uganda in African herbal medicine, at the Claretian Centre. I now have many of these herbal medicine plants in my own herbal garden from where I obtain my supplies. At the moment I am training two local men how to plan and use the medicines.
The joy of the work is to notice the improved health of children many of whom are saved from the killer malaria and diarrhea. The challenge is to make parents bring their children to the clinic on time before the cases worsen. Still my one concern is to get the families adopt healthier practices in their homes to prevent these preventable killers. I joined the community in January, 2014 having been in Malakal for nine
BR. CHRISTIAN MBAM – PASTORAL, SOCIAL, EDUCATION AND AGRICULTURAL
I am new in Riimenze, barely six months having been in Malakal community for about nine monhs. In Riimenze my function is less specific than it was in Malakal where I thought Science and Mathematics. In Riimenze I can say that the need for my being in this place is the support the other members in their various assignments. Hence I am engaged in low-scale agriculture, maintaining both the community gardens and farms and the Demonstration Farms, in which we produce vegetables, fruits and cassava. These apart from supply the Yambio TTC also support the animal farm. These engagements are of support for Sr. Rosa, who is saddled with the large-scale, sustainable agriculture. I moreover form the management team with Rosa and others in the planning and management of the sustainable farm. I also keep the books of the Sustainable farm.
My second assignment is to work Sr. Joana in her visitation to the sick and elderlies of Riimenze. This takes us into the interior of Riimenze, often into the forests where these people live. While we do not give much to them except porridge, tea or just soda, and biscuits, they appreciate these visits because of our effort to seek them out where they live almost in isolation. We do give old clothes when they are available and rarely foods. At the end we pray with them. Our biggest challenge is how to bridge the language gap between them and us.
Thirdly I do some few hours of teaching of English in the parish school. The lack of English among, even the last classes of the primary school is cause of concern.
My pleasure in doing these bits and pieces is that they touch the lives of some people and gives some support to the other community members.