Tuesday, 28 December 2010

A Christmas Exchange

Lillian the Director of Together for Sudan sent a Christmas message to the hardworking TfS Centre staff. Read it and the heart warming reply below.

Dear Neimat,

Alan and I ask that you give our greetings and the hope for blessings at Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our Together for Sudan colleagues, including those in the Nuba Mountains. This has been an extraordinary year filled with opportunities and challenges, problems and achievements. The biggest achievement is that we are still going and still going strong. The US government has, for example, just agreed that we may begin fundraising here. Given all the difficulties and opposition which we have faced, this seems something of a miracle. And I am deeply grateful to you all for your ongoing loyalty to Together for Sudan during this time of tension and financial difficulty.

On behalf of the Together for Sudan trustees I send you our love and greetings and much gratitude for the dedicated work which TfS colleagues in both Khartoum and Kadugli have provided. Without your cooperation and hard work Together for Sudan would no longer exist. Relying on our Sudanese colleagues we can continue to reach out to people who are displaced, marginalized, illiterate and, in some cases, needing hope to keep on living. It is a blessing and a privilege for us to work with you and through you with them.

May God continue to bless and keep you in 2011. This coming period in Sudan’s history will be difficult for us all, in particular for those of you on the front line of caring and helping. Be assured of our prayers and may God give your strength and wisdom. It is my hope and expectation that the work of Together for Sudan will enable more people to understand that Muslims and Christians can successfully work together in service to people in need. This is a path to understanding, reconciliation and friendship which will help make our world a better place for us all. I ask God to protect you all at this time of tension and change in Sudan.

Thank you, Neimat, for sharing this message with all our colleagues in Khartoum and Kadugli.
With much appreciation for your leadership,

Dear Lillian,

Many thanks for your wishes to staff for Christmas and New Year. We return the blessing wishes to you and Alan hoping for a brighter future to Together for Sudan under your guidance and leadership.

It is good news that the US government has agreed that TfS may begin fundraising in USA and we pray that God will give us all the strength to continue supporting the work of TfS and keep us here all safe in this difficult time of stress and complexity.

We are all appreciating your encouraging words in this letter and feeling that there are people who care after us, pray for us and wish all the best for us. The staff felt happy when I read your message to them. Your words had a great comfortable impact on the staff including Ibrahim in Kadugli when I passed some words from the message to him through the telephone.

Thank you very much for this message which comes at a time when the TfS staff and all people in Sudan need such spiritual support.

I am attaching our Christmas card wishing you and Alan all the best for 2011.

Regards,   Neimat -- with greetings from all the staff

Friday, 10 December 2010

December 2010 Newsletter is Now Available

Following a short visit to Sudan and taking pains to visit the Nuba Mountains Lillian the director of Together for Sudan has produced a newsletter detailing our work and progress in Sudan. View a copy of the December Newsletter through our Issuu web account where you can zoom in, share and print our latest newsletter. 
Get it from our blog, Facebook page, twitter page, our website or simply the link below.

TfS December Newsletter

Enjoy - Dave

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Still 1 Goal - Education for All

The World Cup may have ended but our commitment has not.

Schooling matters
Together for Sudan puts a huge amount of importance on its’ education projects, the needs of children and teachers in displaced communities and the rural communities of the Nuba mountains are considerable.

One of the founding principles of Together for Sudan is to listen to what the people we serve say that they need. Time and time again the request is for education.

Listening we have acted and providing education for those who would not otherwise be able to have it has become a major feature of our work. Together for Sudan provides support for funding the schooling of children who have been affected by HIV or AIDS.

The knock on effect of a child’s parents having died of AIDS can often leave them living with relatives that cannot afford to pay for their education. Children in this situation go without unless we step in.

It is only by your kind donations that we can step in when needed and provide the aid and support that is needed so much. Please donate to our ongoing work through this link : Donate online here

Children deserve education to help guarentee them a future

Monday, 5 July 2010

Looking on Suffering and grace and believing in the future of Sudan

From the time I was a small child my mother believed in my integrity and my worthiness. By this I mean she let her children know that it is necessary to grow into a person who is sensitive to the needs of other and ready to help those who are suffering. She lived that way herself, reaching out in kindness as a regular practice. On the day after Christmas when I was four years old, she took her three small children to visit an impoverished family whose children had received no gifts. Our instruction before visiting was that each of us would select one of our own Christmas gifts for the children with no gifts. The whole idea displeased me enormously. But grace broke through when my handing over of a toy telephone to another child set in motion a source of joy which has not ceased to grow with me. From that time I began to suspect that it really might be better to give than to receive.

My mother’s early trust that I would do what is right – if not now then at least later – has guided me towards a life of service although I admit to having wandered around for a few decades before getting serious about it. Not until my 40s did I understand more fully that service to the poor and attention to what people need is the best possible way to accommodate divine grace which strengthens and informs both giver and recipient. Living in London, Cairo and then Khartoum during this time of intense learning, I also came to understand that Muslims as well as Christians believe and practise the path to grace through service.

Among the most wonderful gifts of grace with can grow out of service are patience, humility and love for others. Although I cannot pretend to have advanced far along this path, I can now at least see the possibility that such gifts may eventually be given to me. At present my gifts are simpler, more mundane: an ability to listen to people in distress, anger against injustice and a desire to do something about it and, last but not least, “the gift of helps”, which, to put it simply, means facilitation. I have as well a particularly painful gift which involves openness to the suffering of others, animal as well as human.

This openness to suffering was first remarked on in my childhood in Taiwan when I was twice removed from the streets to the police station on a charge of attacking people who were abusing dogs. I suppose that the inability NOT to see the suffering of others is a common gift to people who have themselves suffered intensely – as I did when I was badly burned as an infant, later when I was sent to boarding school in Mississippi and refused permission to speak to my younger siblings and then as a teenager when I spent several months as the only child in a tuberculosis sanatorium. But the grace of seeing the suffering of others did not come on all at once. Visiting Istanbul early in my adult life, I was surprised when a friend with me suddenly cried out “O God! No! No!” Only then did I see the old man staggering by carrying on his back a refrigerator anchored by a strap across his forehead.

Several years later another friend suddenly turned to me in surprise and said, “You seem to see every wounded dog, overloaded donkey, exhausted woman and sick child on the road from the pyramids back to central Cairo.” Looking at me suspiciously she added, “Why is it that I don’t see all this but you do?” This statement came to me as a revelation because I had always assumed that everyone is able to see the pain and anguish all around us but most of us choose not to do anything about it. So I tucked my friend’s statement away quietly in my heart and began asking God to open my eyes wider.

All this is simply to say that divine grace works within us, particularly, I suspect, when we are willing to join forces with people of other religious beliefs and none, people of different races, tribes and cultures and people who need to feel that those who are more affluent care about them. Arriving in the southern Sudanese city of Wau with a group of fact finding diplomats during the eye of the great famine of 1998, I was surprised to find a Sudanese friend at work feeding the starving multitudes.

“Ahmed,” I cried stupidly, “Why are you here?” To which Ahmed gracefully replied, “Where else would you have me be?”

And I remember the reply of Sudanese ophthalmologist Dr. Nabila Radi when I told her of Together for Sudan’s decision to begin an Eye Care Outreach into the squatter settlements around Khartoum.

“If you are going to help the poor, you are going to suffer,” Dr. Nabila said joyfully. “I can start tomorrow.”

Lillian Craig Harris, June 2010

Monday, 21 June 2010

Great Grant News !

Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF)

A grant of over £61,000 has been received for the academic year 2010/11. The Foundation has agreed to continue funding the existing group of MIF-sponsored university scholars through to completion of their courses with the last of these aiming to graduate in 2015. We are extremely pleased to continue to work with the Foundation on this long term basis.

Gordon Memorial College Trust Fund

The trustees of this fund have given us a generous grant of over £15,200 for the academic year 2010/11. This will cover existing Gordon College university scholars and vocational trainees and, in addition, provide funding for up to 25 new places on vocational training courses for midwifery, nursing, community health, fabric printing and other subjects for people from displaced or disadvantaged communities in Sudan.
See the project work that we do  -  here.

Make a donation of your own learn how  - here

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Hope and Challenges

My early May visit to Sudan was both exhilarating and painful. Our current challenges include unstable political conditions as the January 2011 referendum looms and the continuing difficulty of working with broken communities in the Khartoum IDP areas where it is often “every man for himself”. Then there is the ongoing challenge of working in Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains where there is an almost complete lack of government provision of education for children and of health care for those who are unable to pay for it.

We also have administrative challenges as Together for Sudan continues --for financial reasons -- to operate with at least one employee too few in both our Khartoum and Kadugli offices. I am deeply grateful to our Sudanese colleagues for their loyalty and to Country Coordinator Neimat Hussein for her dedicated and inspiring leadership.

Other challenges include inadequate funding for the Women’s Literacy Project and the Teacher Training Project. To keep teacher training active we have melded its work in the Khartoum area with the Basic School Scholarships Project and while in Khartoum I attended the first session of teacher training for selected teachers from ten self-help basic schools in the settlements for displaced people which surround Khartoum.

While in Kadugli I attended a teacher training course dedicated to primary health care and learned how to put a splint on a broken leg. The enthusiasm and creativity of the 25 teachers attending the course was inspiring. I was also able to meet with a few of our university graduates now working back in their home territory. Then, in a meeting with Ministry of Education officials, TfS’s Deputy Country Coordinator Victor Gali Thomas and I were pressed to train their primary and secondary school teachers. The request underscores a long standing crisis of under educated teachers which local authorities are unable to resolve due to lack of funding from Khartoum.

Because I was unable to reach Sudan on schedule – due to volcanic ash over Europe – I missed a phenomenal Eye Care Outreach at Abu Gebeiha, some 10 hours by dirt track from Kadugli. Sadly (from my standpoint only) the outreach could not be rescheduled due to onset of the rainy season during which travel outside Kadugli becomes virtually impossible. During the outreach the eyes of 1,063 people were examined, 806 were given medication, 252 were operated on for cataract, 292 were given reading glasses and ten individuals (mainly children) were referred for further medical help in Khartoum. One person told the Eye Care team that, “We don’t have money for medical help and we asked God to send you.” After telling me this, TfS Field Representative Ibrahim Ahmed Jabir added “I feel proud, grateful and happy as a result of our work.”

So, despite all difficulties, I remain encouraged by:

*Strong leadership in both our Khartoum and Kadugli offices, including dedicated employees in both offices who believe in their work and are even willing to suffer hardship to keep it going;

*Increased opportunity to expand TfS work in the Nuba Mountains;

*Loyal institutional and individual donors who are doing all they can during a time of international financial difficulties to supply the funding we need;

*Growing recognition among Sudanese friends and TfS Patrons that TfS will be able to continue to serve and,

*The most impressive group of TfS Trustees we have ever had including the best cooperation we have experienced to date in areas of management and fundraising.

We are Christians and Muslims working, as always, TOGETHER FOR SUDAN.


A Gift of Grace - AFRECS speech 2010

A Gift of Grace - AFRECS speech 2010

Liilian spoke recently at an AFRECS conference about TfS. See her speech on our website through the title link above.


Saturday, 27 March 2010

1 Goal - Education for All

Together for Sudan puts a huge amount of importance on it's education projects, the needs of children and teachers in displaced communities and the rural communities of the Nuba mountains are considerable.

One of the founding principles of Together for Sudan is to listen to what the people we serve say that they need. Time and time again the request is for education.

Listening we have acted and providing education for those who would not otherwise be able to have it has become a major feature of our work. Together for Sudan provides support for funding the schooling of children who have been affected by HIV or AIDS. The knock on effect of a child's parents having died of AIDS can often leave them living with relatives that cannot afford to pay for their education. Children in this situation go without unless we step in.

Together for Sudan supports the 1 Goal initiative because we believe that every child should have the opportunity of education.

Show your support for the 1 Goal initiative by signing up through the widget on our website. Cllick on the title to link to widget.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


When they learn of Together for Sudan’s current financial crisis, people sometimes ask how they can better support our life saving education and educational support work.

“I can’t afford a large donation,” someone might say, “but is there some way I can help?”

Indeed there is. Let me suggest several ways of supporting TfS which friends of Together for Sudan have very usefully employed to raise funds:

  • Hold a coffee morning as Lele, Marietta and others have done and invite your friends to contribute.
  • Collect unused but saleable items from your closet, attic and cellar and those of your friends and hold a back garden auction as Sarah and Julian did twice very successfully on our behalf.
  • Give ten pounds a month on a regular basis to TfS, as our Treasurer Norman Swanney has suggested. You won’t miss it and it could save the future for someone in Sudan (our educational work) or even save someone’s life (our Eye Care and HIV/AIDS Awareness projects).
  • Run a marathon or half-marathon on behalf of Together for Sudan as Adrian and Marie did last year.
  • Give a piano concert in the name of Together for Sudan. This has been done very successfully by Bruce and also by Rosemary.
  • Set up a meeting which convenes at least twice yearly, invite a guest lecturer such as a Together for Sudan friend or trustee and take a collection for TfS or some other Sudan focused charity – as the Beaminster Friends of Sudan have done very successfully for a number of years.
  • Perhaps even more fun, hold a lecture, raffle or other event at your club, church or home and collect donations for TfS.
  • Then, especially if there are willing teenagers around, there is the car wash way to raise funds.
  • For those a bit older, why not put Together for Sudan in your will? I know of at least one dear old person who has done this. However, I still need his encouraging letters too much to even think of how sad I shall be when he delivers his last gift to Together for Sudan.