Weʼve raised £1,640 to provide educational equipment for Dar Mariam, a primary school for South Sudanese refugee children.
- Funded on Saturday, 11th August 2018
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Cycling 790km to raise awareness and funds for DAR MARIAM Primary School
(More info about the cycle at the end)
What I do:
I have been doing independent humanitarian work in the educational sector for the last 18 months, and it is great to see that you are willing to help out and join me on this journey. I have now undertaken two trips to Khartoum, Sudan, with humanitarian purposes, in January 2017 and most recently in January 2018. Whilst out there I visit Dar Mariam, an impoverished primary school run by Salesian Sisters. I spend several days at a time helping out at the school, organising arts and crafts sessions for each class and filtering the donations into immediate projects and long term projects.
About the school:
The school accommodates 450 children between the ages of 4 and 12, many of which are orphans. All of the students are South Sudanese refugees, victims of the civil war. The students live in local slums, some neighbouring the school. However, many of those who are orphans are forced to sleep on the streets, placing them in very vulnerable positions. I have had the opportunity to visit the local slums on various occasions, witnessing for myself the poor state in which people are forced to live in. These families live their lives in unimaginable states of poverty in make shift houses which are regularly knocked down by the authorities. I met several mothers suffering from malaria, forcing their children to provide for themselves. These encounters highlighted the social and financial struggles faced by displaced people.
The students are deeply wounded, sick and above all very hungry. Common diseases and health problems at the school include malaria, fungal worms and malnutrition, as well as mental difficulties such as trauma. Unfortunately many of the children try to disconnect from these problems by causing extra harm to themselves, for example by sniffing glue or other strong solvents.
Bearing in mind the levels of poverty at the school and the lack of resources, the sister’s and members of staff have a brilliant set up which always holds the children at the centre of it, creating a safe environment where happiness and a willingness to learn override financial and social injustice.
The Sister's provide all the uniform and schooling materials as well as 1 basic meal a day, usually in the form of a simple bowl of lentils or white beans to share between several, for the majority this is the only meal of the day.
The school receives no funding from the government, instead it runs mainly on donations.
How your donations are used:
Last year part of the funds raised allowed me to equip each year group with numerous textbooks, resources which they could not afford, as well as 500 exercise books, soap and playground equipment amongst other things. Money raised in November and December of last year has provided milk and fruit once a week for each student, since January and this will continue until July. Similarly, we are providing personal hygiene equipment for the next 5 months. This year’s current plans include refurbishing and decorating the classrooms (which is happening now), as well as providing further educational and hygiene resources.
With the money raised now, I aim to provide new tables and benches as they are now in a state of disrepair with large holes in most of them, making it very hard for the children to work and learn. My next visit to the school will be in July.
I maintain a solid contact with the school and the head teacher regularly informs me of the progress and the impact that the resources provided are having on the education and welfare of the students. From this information I know what is needed most and how all the funds raised can be used in the best way to improve conditions at the school.
So far since I began collaborating with them I have raised a total of £9000 for them.
It is thanks to your support that we are able to raise awareness and funds in aid of those who have so little, us who are given a lifeline and an education due to the effective work, dedication and love of the four Salesian Sisters at Dar Mariam.
Cycle challenge -- 790km in 6 days
In the last week of June I will be cycling the famous pilgrims route "El Camino de Santiago", alongside friend/classmate Joe Innes. We have challenged ourselves to cycle 790km, from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela, in just 6 days!
790km is also a very symbolic number relating to the refugee children at Dar Mariam. Most of the children have fled, with their families or alone, from Malakal (South Sudan). The distance from Malakal to Dar Mariam is also 790km. The majority make the dangerous journey by foot, through areas of intense conflict.
Through this cycle and organised activities we hope to raise more awareness and funds for Dar Mariam.
Follow the progress:
Updates appear here
Omar Noia-Rodriguez started crowdfunding
Leave a message of support
Jul 27, 2018
I know I said I was going to donate since day one of your campaign and I've finally got round to doing it - what you're doing in Sudan in inspirational and I know you're making a huge difference xx
Mrs Pritchard's Mother
Jul 14, 2018
Congratulations on what you are doing - I am delighted to help
Aunty Bernie and Uncle Jonathan
Jul 10, 2018
What an amazing achievement Joseph! And such a worthy cause. We look forward to hearing more about it.
Jul 9, 2018
Enhorabuena por vuestro impresionante Camino de Santiago. Well done!
Ann and Kathryn Conway (Joseph's Aunts)
Jul 8, 2018
Dear Joseph, enclosed is a contribution towards your great fund-raising effort for the Sudanese school. We hope everything went well for you and your friend. With all good wishes, Aunty Ann & Kathryn
Tony Innes (Joseph's Grandpa)
Jul 8, 2018
Dear JosephWhat an amazing achievement and cause.All the best, Grandpa
Jul 8, 2018
Omar, you are a top guy and very generous. I weote this in a club so the music is a bit loud!! Keep in touch witht the charity and futere ventures together!! Love you longtime bro 👊🏼
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