Murt Curry SJ and Winnie Ryan, the Project Officer and Finance Officer of Jesuit Missions, give a lot of time and care to seeking funding for projects in Jesuit missions, mostly in Africa. Two years ago they prepared applications for Kenya and South Sudan. All that careful paperwork and negotiations have since been translated into life-enhancing projects. It is still essential to assess how the money has been spent. So Murt and Winnie travelled to East Africa this autumn to see for themselves. In two packed weeks they inspected over a dozen projects, and came back satisfied that the generosity of Irish people has made a real difference to the lives and educational prospects of Kenyans and South Sudanese. The photo shows students in Wau singing the new national anthem of South Sudan 1st Nov 2011. Read more.
At the end of October, Martin Curry and Winnie Ryan, the Project Officer and Finance Officer respectively, visited Kenya and South Sudan with a view to monitoring projects previously funded through the Mission Office.
They were hosted by Paul Kalenzi SJ, the development officer for the Eastern Africa Jesuit Province. In Nairobi, they visited the development works in St Joseph the Worker Parish in Kangemi, which include the Dollycraft workshop, the Upendo school for AIDS orphans, the vocational training centre in the parish, and AJAN – the African Jesuit Aids Network. They also visited the Hakimani Peace Centre and Mwangaza Retreat Centre (where Cecil McGarry and Sean O’Connor are buried) and came away with many possibilities for helping future projects in all these apostolates.
The visit to Rumbek in South Sudan was to monitor the project currently funded by Misean Cara to provide the water needed for the new multi-educational Jesuit school to be built there over the next few years. The school will focus on agricultural training for young adults to try to increase the food security of the region. The local people belong to the Dinka tribe, who are predominantly pastoralists, so skills in crop production will be greatly appreciated. The planning for the school is well advanced and construction should commence soon.
Loyola Secondary School in Wau re-opened in 2008 after being occupied by North Sudan forces for 23 years during the civil war. Six new classrooms have just been added, but a new administration block, laboratories, toilets, library, computer room and other facilities are urgently needed. Solar power is the main economical source of electricity, but the present capacity of the school needs to be greatly expanded. The language around Wau is Arabic, but the teaching is in English and there is a great shortage of textbooks. Again, many ideas for future projects were outlined and will be progressed over the coming year.
Back in Nairobi, Winnie and Murt visited JRS E Africa, where many projects have been funded by Misean Cara through the Mission Office. Projects reaching completion included re-settlement of refugees in Kitgum in Uganda, counselling of Somali refugees in Kakuma Camp in Kenya, and adult literacy and skills development in the Mellit area of Darfur. Education projects in Yei and Kajo Keji in S Sudan, and an urban project for Congolese refugees in Kampala are on-going. The closure of four projects in South Sudan by Christmas 2012, and the opening of projects in Dolo Ado in southern Ethiopia and possibly in Yambio (S Sudan), were also discussed. Meeting the JRS Staff put faces and personalities on names only known by email previously.
A brief meeting with Richard O’Dwyer SJ, acting project director in Lobone, was an accidental occurrence which was greatly welcomed by all. Dinner with Fr Orobator, the Provincial, and the development office personnel concluded the visit. Murt and Winnie arrived back safely on the 9th November – to a significant drop in temperature!