Tuesday, August 30, 2016
South Sudan Women are Vulnerable in the Refugees’ Camps…
Mahasa (not her real name) sits in the dust outside the hut she built herself, holding her youngest son in her arms.
The 29-year-old mother of four knows how vulnerable she is. "I'm scared," she said.
Mahasa is one of many women who have fled, unaccompanied by their husbands, to Maban County in South Sudan's Upper Nile State, escaping the fighting in Sudan's Blue Nile State between government forces and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North. Mahasa’s husband is still in Blue Nile, fighting alongside the rebels.
She now lives in Doro camp, which houses more than 44,000 refugees. There, she - like other female refugees - faces daily threats of harassment, exploitation and violence, and the persistent fear that, as a woman, she will be unable to provide for her family.
The fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, which started in June 2011, has so far displaced more than 112,000 civilians to South Sudan. Humanitarians say they were "overwhelmed" during the rainy season in the second half of 2012, as tens of thousands of refugees, most of them women and children, came pouring across the border from Blue Nile State. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and its partners scrambled to meet the basic needs of the new arrivals, who initially slept under trees and survived on fruit and stagnant groundwater.
Now, six months later, fighting continues across the border, but the rate of arrivals has eased and aid agencies are transitioning from emergency response mode to meeting the longer-term needs of the refugee population.
More than 80 percent of the refugees are women and children, says Myrat Muradov, a protection officer with UNHCR. The agency has begun to look at the particular vulnerabilities of this group, many of whom are completely dependent on food rations.
"Widows and pregnant women need much help," he said.
Because the camps are spread out across large areas, women often have to walk very long distances to reach food distributions points, and then they must carry the heavy ration bags back with them.
Mahasa, for example, walks half an hour in each direction to collect the food she needs to feed her children.
Aid workers say that on these collection journeys, single women and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, sometimes being forced to part with a portion of their ration in exchange for assistance transporting it.
However, this is not the crime Mahasa fears most. One of the most difficult things she and other women must do is collect firewood from the bush surrounding the camp; not only is it hard work, it is also "dangerous," she says, because members of the host community often approach and harass female refugees. "They hit us," Mahasa says. “They also take the axe from us."
Tensions between the refugees and the host community have been mounting, largely over increasingly limited resources.
Maple*, an older woman in the camp, and Talitha*, her adult daughter, express similar fears, reporting that both men and women from the host community have hit them with sticks and chased them away as they tried to collect firewood.
"The only way to get the firewood is to hide yourself in order to protect yourself from the host community," Maple said.
The issue is of growing concern for protection officers working in the four refugees camps of Maban County. Firewood collection "exposes women to humungous risks in terms of sexual violence," one officer working in the camps told IRIN. (Source: IRIN)
Monday, August 22, 2016
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Short Reflection for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Selected Passage: “Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” (Luke 13: 23-24)
Meditation: To enter the Kingdom of God is not a question of strength and merit. No one is strong enough and neither anyone is meritorious enough to win the Kingdom! It is a GIFT. But walking along the path of Jesus means to bear fruits. And fruits associated to the lives of Christians are – justice, charity and mercy! So pray for these fruits. Remember that the Kingdom is God’s gratuitous offer to all! Cf. www.badaliyya.blogspot.com
DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
1st step: Write the Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) in your heart.
2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the Dhikr silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the
Dhikr in your life.
Dhikr in your life.
Bapa Jun Mercado, omi
Badaliyya - Philippines
Monday, August 08, 2016
Short Reflection for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Readings: Jeremiah 38: 4-6, 8-10; Hebrew 12: 1-4; Luke 12: 49-53
Gospel Passage: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! (Luke 12: 49-50)
Monday, August 01, 2016
Short Reflection for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Readings: Wisdom 18: 6-9; Hebrew 11: 1-2. 1-12; Luke 12: 32-48
Gospel Passage: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Luke 12: 32-34)
Meditation: The kingdom is given to us for FREE! The gospel’s challenge to us is show that we, truly, treasure the kingdom both in our words and deeds. Our deeds reveal the real treasure in our heart. Work for the treasure that does NOT wear out and NO thief can reach nor moth destroy. cf. www.badaliyya.blogspot.com