Sunday, 26 July 2009

My Marathon Task - Adrian Thomas

My name is Adrian and I am going to run a marathon to raise funds for Together for Sudan.

I have just completed the Ballater 10 mile road race. That is definitely a milestone in my training programme, though it’s still less than 40% of the marathon distance. The good news though is that I enjoyed the Ballater run and did not feel too exhausted at the end. It was not a stellar performance – I was 128th out of 188 runners, but most were a good deal younger than me!

I have been quite active over the last few weeks with visits to the Pyrenees and Alps. Walking at altitude should have been good for my lung capacity and endurance and the challenge is to maintain that. We are spending most of July and August in Scotland and I have been running every couple of days since I got back from Switzerland on 18th July. The moorland tracks are fine places to practise for running the cross-country course from Salisbury to Winchester.

I have discovered one particularly well maintained track on the nearby Balmoral estate. It is enjoyable running with good views and pure air, but being in such a privileged place does provide a real contrast to the heat, dust and poverty that is the lot of so many people in Sudan. I only hope that I shall get the support I need and that I will be able to raise enough to contribute in some small way to improving things there.

I now have 10 weeks left until the marathon on 4th October, which should be just long enough to build up my performance, but I shall have to work hard at it. I may enter another race to provide a target for improvement, and I will continue to report on how things progress. I'm making a Just Giving page for this run but you can always give anytime through the TFS website, see this link -

Adrian Thomas

Friday, 10 July 2009

Women's Literacy Project

One of the most important means to empower displaced and destitute women is through education because this will help them towards a brighter future. The Women’s Literacy Project actually began in 1997 even before Together for Sudan itself officially began. What happened was that a Sudanese Episcopal priest working with displaced people in squatter settlements told two or three groups of women outside Omdurman to set up classes and Dr. Lillian would pay the teachers salaries! Although he had not consulted her, she felt she had to do it! Since then TfS has graduated over 2,500 women from its literacy classes and in 2007 & 2008 trained 52 teachers in the REFLECT literacy method.

Women’s literacy classes were sometime later set up in the Kadugli area of the Nuba Mountains and nearly 200 women have graduated from three centres there in 2009. Most recently Together for Sudan expanded the project to El Fasher in Northern Darfur where we have trained 14 women as literacy teachers. Despite the difficult circumstances, two classes have been set up. So Together for Sudan has been a pioneer in the field of women’s literacy.
From my point of view as a literacy monitor, the Women’s Literacy Project is significant for building peace and community reconciliation and in empowering women.

In February this year I participated in a workshop in Gadarif in the east of Sudan at which the Director of the National Council for Illiteracy Eradication, Dr. Abdelhafiz, described Together for Sudan as an “unrecognized fighter for humanity”. He said that he appreciated the role of TfS due to its effective efforts to eradicate illiteracy among displaced women. I hope that Together for Sudan will be able to continue this vital project despite the present funding difficulties.

Saudi Abdelrahman
TfS Officer Manager, Khartoum

Vocational Training Project

In 2008 Together for Sudan started to offer vocational scholarships to young men as well as young women from the settlements for displaced persons and to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This was our first offer of education to males other than children in basic school. In its first year this project, funded by the Gordon Memorial College Trust Fund, sponsored eleven young men to study general electricity, automobile electricity, general mechanics and air conditioning. Four scholars who were on a one year course graduated and some of them wrote letters of appreciation to express how they have benefitted from TfS support and how this support has changed their lives.

Even in its first year the vocational project was highly popular with young men and their families because those trained are able to acquire professional jobs. In June and July 2009 I have received many telephone calls from young men and their parents asking TfS to sponsor them for vocational training. Sadly, our funding for this project has run out due to the international financial upheaval. I wish I could find a donor to continue this vital project which is currently inactive.

Saudi AbdelrahamTfS Office Manager Khartoum