By Ellen Ratner, ,
Published May 07, 2015
Editor's note: The following column originally appeared on World Net Daily.
Once a year, we celebrate Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and now Giving Tuesday. There is now an organization devoted to Giving Tuesday.
GivingTuesday.org says “#GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
“It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.”
Every year on Giving Tuesday, the organization that I co-founded relies on the generosity of good Americans to help the poorest of the poor in South Sudan. South Sudan received its independence in 2011.
It was after two of the bitterest wars with what is now Sudan. Then it was Christians against Arabs, and it was the second war that began in 1983 and ended in 2005. It was not just about resources but also about Shariah law.
The Christians in the South would have none of it, and began a war. The South was united in fighting a common enemy. Between the two wars, more than four million people in the South were killed, more than in Cambodia and Rwanda combined. Now, having learned war, there is again a real civil, tribal war with Dinkas and Nuers fighting each other.
During the planting season this year, there was too much fighting taking place, and internally displaced people could not plant. As a result, people could not begin growing crops, and the risk of “food insecurity” (hunger) is now great.
According to the United Nations report, “good conditions during the current growing season had eased food insecurity since May, the situation is much worse than in a typical year. They forecast that some 1.5 million people will face “crisis” or “emergency” levels of food insecurity through December (2015) including one-third of the population of the worst-affected states of Upper Nile, Jonglei and Unity.
“These populations have made it through conflict, displacement, and a harsh lean season in 2014 by relying on coping mechanisms, including traditional kinship sharing and distress asset depletion. As a result, their resilience into 2015 is expected to be very weak, particularly if new shocks occur.”
It is when we get reports such as the one above that we ask people to donate goats and medicine at our site, Goats for the Old Goat.
We give she-goats to families facing hunger and, with the help of our friends at Christian Solidarity, we give goats to returning slaves from the North and the Darfur region. One goat can give a liter of milk a day, which for children is the difference between nutrition and malnutrition.
Medicine and medical training is also what we have begun providing. With fewer than 200 physicians for 10.2 million people, it is important to train new doctors and nurses as well as providing medicine.
The area we work in, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, is one of the 10 states in South Sudan. It has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest infant mortality rates of any place in the world. With few doctors, few nurses and almost no prenatal care, we are trying to make a difference. That is why we expanded our mission beyond goats to medicine.
We are trying to give the good Christians of Northern Bahr el Ghazal a fighting chance. This “Giving Tuesday,” you can help, too. It is a mission that takes all of us and what is so wonderful about it is that just a little bit goes such a long way.
A goat and a little medicine can make a world of difference.