400,000 refugees living in Uganda, the majority of whom are South Sudanese, are in danger of starvation this year. Over 135,000 children are severely malnourished and require urgent treatment. This has been attributed to COVID-19 and cuts in humanitarian aid funding.
As people are struggling more and more to find reliable sources of food, there is great need for agricultural development amongst the refugees.
Food for the Soul
The Keliko people from Panyana in South Sudan are some of those living as refugees in Uganda as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They have struggled greatly through war and in addition have waited for years for a translation of the Bible in their own language. Bishop Seme Nigo Abinda recounts:
‘In 2013, people were in their places. But when the war started, people ran into the bushes, and some of them ran into neighbouring countries like in Congo, Uganda. But still we did not give up. We just sacrificed ourselves, because we are Kelikos, we are the speakers of the language…People in the camps have not abandoned their God. They continue to praise God, and when you see their faces, they are smiling.’
In August 2018 Bishop Seme and his people celebrated the translation of the Bible into the Keliko Language.
‘That day was a marvellous day which will never be forgotten. So let us thank God for what God has done for us. Before my grandfather could introduce the translation project, there was nothing written in Keliko.’
Watch more about the Bible translation project in the Wycliffe video here.
Food for the Body
Now that his people have spiritual nourishment, Bishop Seme has asked AID if we will work with the Keliko to develop agriculture so that they can feed their bodies.
So, in collaboration with Send a Cow Uganda, AID has funded a one-week training course for five Keliko people at Kasenge Riverford Organic Agricultural Centre (KROAC) just outside Kampala.
During the training week, the five farmers gained knowledge and practical farming skills derived from other successful Send A Cow farming initiatives. Additionally, they were trained up as trainers so that they can pass on their knowledge to others.
Despite a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown being announced in Uganda during their stay, the five ‘peer farmer trainers’ managed to complete their training and return to their families, albeit later than planned. We are now continuing to support these new farmers with seeds, tools and land as they train up others in their community.
Please pray for Jacob, Enosa, Enock, Abuni and Lilias as they get to grips with sustainable farming in their respective refugee camps and pass on their knowledge to others. Pray too that they will one day be able to return to South Sudan and farm there.
For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.