July 17, 2018
By Janice Biehn
As South Sudan marked the seventh anniversary of its independence from Sudan last week, six community leaders began participating in a course to promote healing and reconciliation in the fragile state.
The three-week course is being taught in Kigali, Rwanda, by Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC). Born out of the trauma of the Rwanda genocide, HROC’s goal is to “promote peace education to establish a future generation guided by nonviolent and harmonious values.”
PWRDF’s association with HROC began in July 2016, when Rebecca Deng, a former lost girl of South Sudan now living in Winnipeg, and Atong Mayol Juuk, a woman from the Mother’s Union in Bor, South Sudan, completed a three-week HROC facilitator’s workshop in Kigali.
Soon after, Deng founded the Winnipeg Women’s Resource Centre in Bor with the help of the Winnipeg South Sudanese community’s Emmanuel Mission and its host church, St. Matthew’s Anglican. Since Deng and Juuk took the course, the Rev. Cathy Campbell and the team in Winnipeg have been keen to promote and share the HROC in South Sudan through PWRDF and its community partners on the ground.
In November 2017, PWRDF supported two three-day basic HROC workshops at grassroots level in Bor. “We received positive feedback and requests to do more as the participants found the workshops relevant and valuable,” says Naba Gurung, Humanitarian Response Coordinator for PWRDF.
“In consultation with the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission (JPRC) of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, we realized that the priorities, principles and approaches of JPRC align with those of the HROC,” adds Gurung. “PWRDF is glad that JPRC is well positioned and a willing partner to promote the HROC among the conflict-affected communities in South Sudan.”
“Local peace building matters because it can provide entry points for long-term transformational change while laying the ground for peace to prevail,” said one staffer from Christian Aid, which recently released a report on peace building in South Sudan. “It can mitigate the worst effects of national conflict, and it can help inform national processes with customary and cultural values and practice to make peace more genuinely inclusive for all.”
PWRDF and its partners, Manitoba Women for Women and the Winnipeg Women’s Resource Centre in Bor, are sponsoring the following participants in the facilitator training course now underway in Kigali (from left to right):
- Deborah Awut Mayom is the deputy chief administrator of South Sudan Youth Leaders Forum where she is engaged in peace building programs in the country. She is also working as a development associate at Hope and Resurrection Secondary School.
- Deng Kon is a native of Bor, South Sudan, and holds a Diploma in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He has worked for UN and non-profit organizations in South Sudan. He is currently working as a Literacy [and Numeracy] instructor at Winnipeg Women Resource Centre in Bor operating out of St. Andrew’s Cathedral. He was the interpreter for the two HROC workshops held in Bor in 2017.
- James Atem Tuor holds a BA in Liberal Arts from De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif. He obtained several certificates on peace building and project management. After having worked for several organizations at different positions, he is now the Board deputy secretary for JPRC.
- The Rev. Stephen Mayuen Mou (second from right) is the newly appointed Coordinator of the JPRC. Rev. Mou holds a Master’s Degree in Theology, Peace, and Justice from the University of Winnipeg. He has worked for Tearfund (1998-2001) as Community Health Educator and for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (2009-2014) as Civic Engagement officer.
- Rina Hamza William holds a Diploma in Community Development and certificates in Health. She has worked for various organizations over the last 20 years, including for Islamic Relief World Wide as a clinical officer. Her broader counselling background makes her a good fit to be with JPRC. William is currently a member of JPRC Board of Directors.
- (front row) Monica Ilario Kaima Urofi has completed several leadership and management training programs and is actively involved in community based initiatives in Wau state of South Sudan.
After the completion of the course, the JPRC and PWRDF will develop a plan for the newly trained facilitators to reach out to the communities in South Sudan on a grass roots level.
For more information on HROC visit www.healingandrebuildingourcommunities.org