FOREST, Va. — Vernon Brewer, World Help president and founder, recently traveled to the Nyumanzi refugee camp in northern Uganda, where more than 42,000 South Sudanese refugees have settled.
Barely six years after gaining independence, South Sudan is embroiled in one of the world’s worst civil conflicts. Political violence and famine have internally displaced more than 2 million people and forced 1.8 million more to flee to neighboring countries, making it the world’s third-largest refugee crisis.
Brewer and World Help staff distributed food supplies and Bibles to refugee families at the camp this past July. Because of Nyumanzi’s dwindling supplies, each refugee family has been forced to survive on only 7 pounds of flour a month.
A primary focus of Brewer’s trip was to meet refugee children and to hear their stories firsthand. According to the UNHCR (the U.N. refugee agency), 6 out of 10 South Sudanese refugees — or about 1 million — are children. The agency estimates more than 75,000 unaccompanied children have crossed to neighboring Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
In a video filmed on location, Brewer shares the story of 16-year-old Joseph, who fled to Uganda after losing his parents to the fighting in South Sudan. Joseph has assumed the role of parent and provider for his younger siblings, who live together in a mud hut at the camp. At Nyumanzi, child-headed households are the norm rather than the exception.
“Anytime there’s a refugee crisis, it’s always the children who suffer most,” said Brewer. “What we are seeing in South Sudan is a civil conflict whose primary victims are children. We cannot sit by idly as this crisis unfolds — the future of millions of boys and girls hangs in the balance.”
During his trip to Uganda, Brewer also visited a 5 acre plot of land near the camp where World Help plans to build a vocational center and primary school to help refugee families. Children will be able to learn employable skills and attain an education.
Photographs of the food and Bible distribution are available here.
World Help is a Christian humanitarian organization committed to serving the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world. Since its inception in 1991, World Help has delivered humanitarian aid to more than 79 million people in 70 countries.
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