My name is Manyang Reath. In 2008, I founded a non-profit organization called Humanity Helping Sudan Project. Through this organization, I hope to raise awareness for over 4 million Sudanese people who are forcefully removed and are placed in refugee camps along the border of Sudan and Ethiopia, where their basic human rights are often violated. Our organization has raised thousands of dollars to help the Gamballa citizens of Ethiopia and Sudan fix wells, cultivate vegetable gardens, purchase fishnets, and develop chicken farms. I believe that giving the people fish, can only feed them for one day. But, providing them with the skills, equipment, and a helping hand, will allow them to feed themselves for a lifetime without having to depend on others to fulfill their basic needs. "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life."
Having a difficult past does not determine our future. After living in a refugee camp for fifteen years, I was able to come to the United States, where I have dedicated my life to humanitarian work. I have experienced the impact of war and conflict on children and adolescents and want to hear the stories of others who have experienced the damage that war inflicts."¨ Since coming to America, I have formed the African Community Network (ACN) with the assistance of the Red Cross and Humanity Helping Sudan (HHSP). The goal of the ACN is to create open dialogue and communication across groups of people from different African countries.
In the ACN, I work with people who came from all different countries in Africa."¨ The Humanity Helping Sudan is a caring and reputable charity that has raised extensive amounts of donations that have gone towards supplying clean running water, fishing equipment, chickens used for breeding, and education to displaced Sudanese citizens living in Ethiopia. Former attendees who share our philanthropic passion include: Miss Virginia Chinah Helmandollar, Miss Virginia Caitlin Uze, CNN anchor John King, and United Nations' Senior Official Larry Yungk."¨ In the dark corner of Africa my dreams was what I had, and many wishes, misery was all I saw as a young refugee. I remember writing letters to strangers in America during many a quiet night. I would tell my life story in an effort to relieve the pressure in my life. I would cry at times and I had thoughts of suicide. "¨It is hard to stay strong when you feel that no one loves you. Imagine the life of a poor refugee who feels that there is no man alive that can ever understand their struggles. I survived with the hope that there would be better days to come.
I ask myself every now and then will I survive the darkness? Because for me, hope is where my heart is. I had difficulty sleeping for many years. I witnessed groups die of hunger every day. I believe there has to be a place better than that. That is why this project is so important to me.
The Plan of Action addresses the massive food shortage in the region. Since the 2005 Peace Agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan; and now that Southern Sudan is a country in its own right, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission on Refugees) no longer provides support. Manyang knows that local people simply need the tools to take advantage of environmental assets like the Baro River, which runs through the heart of the Gambella region in Ethiopia and Sudan."¨ Resources are needed to locally purchase and provide fishing nets; chickens/roosters for eggs, food and barter power; and well repair for drinking and cooking water, thus empowering individuals directly to provide for their families. Because we purchase locally, the net makers, chicken farmers and well repair workers can be employed --- SYNERGY!
This is a simple and unique goal that can be accomplished quickly and directly without complication and provide immediate, lasting results.
Objective 2: Provide agricultural training and cultivation of indigenous crops: maize, sorghum, millet, vegetables, and fruits. In August 2011, thanks to a donation from Allegro Coffee and support from Whole Foods Market, HHSP has leased 10,000 sq. meters of uncleared land for a community garden. During August and continuing, local refugees began clearing the land with hoes, shovels and machetes. Community elders have begun planning an irrigation system using the repaired wells and the Baro river."¨An agreement with the local agriculture vocational training center will allow students to work the land; and families will also be able to grow their own food in the community garden."¨HHSP will be able to enhance the vocational curriculum with the addition of instruction on chicken husbandry, fish farming, crop production and well repair.
Objective 3: health and medical needs of the refugee community. According to our physician:
"I was totally overwhelmed at all the awful things that can happen to you in that part of the world and the scarcity of resources. Kind of what you always knew but didn't want to. I don't think a page would even list the diseases. There are the "vaccine preventable" diseases that we've pretty nearly eliminated here: measles, rabies, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis A & B, polio....... And then malaria and sleeping sickness and schistosomiasis and filariasis and AIDS and tuberculosis and plague and Dengue fever and typhoid and yellow fever. And then a whole host of "diarrheal diseases" that kill a million infants and small children yearly worldwide, mostly from dehydration and malnutrition. All kinds of things you can get from lacking a clean water source or swimming in dirty water or insect bites. And then of course there's just good old malnutrition/starvation or "seasonal undernourishment." And landmines and terrorists and "armed conflict".
There's a scarcity of information on exactly what kind of medical resources there are except that it is scarce, unevenly distributed, and difficult to access and may be of dubious quality. I can't suggest anything but money to dig a well, vaccinate, provide AIDS meds to pregnant women, find a way to provide food that can be sustained, like a garden, or fishing nets.
View my interview here with "Virginia Currents" after the 13:40 mark:
I recently submitted my project on DoSomething.org!!!
"Humanity Helping Sudan Project" is a nonprofit organization that is proud to support the Ethiopian Sudanese community and I ask for your help to sponsor my work. Please give what you can and feel good about strengthening a cause important to me and my former community.
- Thank you for your support!!!