May 30, 2020
We hope that this letter finds you and your congregation/family healthy and recovering from any cases of COVID-19. You all have been in our prayers during this global pandemic that has brought sadness and grief to millions of families and communities and has hopefully changed the way we will live in the future.
On behalf of the Board of Solidarity with South Sudan, we write to give you an update on the impact of the pandemic on our staff, students and work in South Sudan and to passionately appeal to you for a special donation to assist us with our current critical financial situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 12 years ago, the members of the Union International Superiors General generously responded to the urgent call of the Bishops of South Sudan to come to the aid of their young and underprivileged nation that was, and still is, being ravaged by inter-tribal conflicts, violence, poverty and hunger. You brought to birth an initiative that, from its very inception, has offered high-quality, self-sustaining educational, health and pastoral programs for young adults from distant tribal villages. Thus, many students who have passed through our institutions have indeed acquired skills that continue to enable them live with dignity and contribute meaningfully to the building of a just and peaceful South Sudan.
This network has helped build a vibrant, nation-leading educational, health and agricultural institutions that could be referred to as a model and example in a country beset by many challenges.
But now, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its domino effect on the global economy, our different congregations, donors and funding agencies, is greatly affecting our network and the sustainability of the achievements made in the past. We have closed most of our institutions at the request of the government due to safety concerns, but we are still incurring lots of expenses in paying staff. Each institution is also finding ways to reach out to our students, offer them some educational opportunities. In addition, we are trying to reach out to local population who are vulnerable and unprotected.
To date, some agencies have already notified us of their inability to finance 100 percent of the pledges made to the network. We simply cannot afford to let this crisis impede the implementation of programs we have set up for the year 2020 and even beyond, and to respond to the pandemic on our doorsteps.
Faced with these pressing financial uncertainties, we, the Executive Director and Board of Solidarity with South Sudan, passionately appeal to you for a special donation to enable us balance our budget for this fiscal year 2020. Some of you have already given generously this year. For this, we thank you. Others are considering what donations they can afford amidst this global recession.
We know that this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all its challenges, requires courageous and tough-minded actions and calls on each one to urgently prioritize the common good.
We pray that you will give thoughtful consideration to our request and help us emerge from this crisis with greater resilience and financial capability to continue to help people develop their lives and offer hope to the poor and suffering people of South Sudan.
Contributions can be made through Friends in Solidarity, either by check or online at https://www.solidarityfriends.org/donate/
Thank you again for your commitment to this important project and for your consistent care for the poor of South Sudan.
Fr Jim Greene Executive Director
On behalf of the Board
Note: This letter has been updated by Sister Joan Mumaw, IHM as of June 9, 2020