We are delighted to announce that a 20-minute documentary on the work of Mercy Beyond Borders in South Sudan will be featured at the 14th annual United Nations Film Festival, Oct 21-30, 2011 at Stanford University and other venues in Palo Alto, E. Palo Alto and San Francisco. The theme for this year's festival, "Education is a human right," fits well with Mercy Beyond Borders' conviction that "where women learn, women matter." The film was filmed and produced by Christopher Jenkins, who teaches documentary film-making at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The public is welcome at the festival! When the date gets closer, check for details at http://www.unaff.org/2011/index.html
Chris Jenkins and friend on location in Kuron, S.Sudan
The people of S. Sudan do not lack for enthusiasm at becoming an independent nation. However, serious problems grip the young country. Since July 9th, when South Sudan split from the North, the Khartoum government has actively worked to de-stabilize the region. There is evidence that Khartoum is supplying dissident groups in the South with weapons, ammunition, and other goods (or should we say "bads").
Khartoum has also stripped all Southerners residing in the north of their Sudanese citizenship and rights, causing massive movements of internally displaced to the South. To make matters worse, the North has blocked the transport of needed food, fuel and other materials to the South, sparking huge jumps in prices for everyday commodities. In the town of Narus, where Mercy Beyond Borders supports a girls' boarding school, a bag of maize is up 300% in 2 months; a drum of petrol has risen 62%, a bag of sugar now costs 6,000 Kenyan shillings--about $75 USD, an impossible sum where the average person's income is less than $1/day.
As challenges mount, so does the determination of the people to make their newfound freedom work. Mercy Beyond Borders stands with them.
What is she thinking, this lone Sudanese woman sitting in the dust in front of her mud-and-stick home in the outskirts of Mapuordit? Is she content with her gray striped blanket and blue plastic bucket and the fly whisk in her hand? Is she having health problems? Is she worrying how she will find food for her children? Does she wish she had had the chance to go to school? Does she ever wonder about the world beyond her village?
I do not know what this woman is thinking, but I know what I am thinking: my life is tied to hers. We are kin. Now that we are connected I can make a difference in her life, as she is making a difference in mine. She is helping me to think globally. She is helping me to stretch my own heart to broader horizons. She is helping me to extend mercy beyond borders.
As you know, Mercy Beyond Borders partners with displaced women and girls in ways that alleviate their extreme poverty. To date, all of our projects have been in South Sudan, home to 1/4 of the world's displaced people. Now we are expanding to Haiti, where the 2010 earthquake displaced tens of thousands. Even now, 18 months later, many people still live in flimsy tent encampments in Port-au-Prince; thousands more fled to the rural areas to stay with relatives (who themselves cannot afford to host the influx).
One week in Haiti was more than enough to convince me that Haitian women are resilient and resourceful (as you can see in this photo), and that scholarships for Haitian girls will provide hope as well as education to the many who would otherwise drop out for lack of school fees. Mercy Beyond Borders will focus its efforts in the Gros Morne (i.e., "big mountain") area, about 4 hours by car north of Port-au-Prince. We begin this summer by offering high school scholarships to the top academic achiever in each of 16 primary schools in the region. Stay tuned on our website for details and photos in coming months: www.mercybeyondborders.org.
Two nonprofits -- Dining for Women, and Global Giving -- are highlighting Mercy Beyond Borders this month. If MBB can raise $4,000 from at least 50 different donors during the month of August, Dining for Women will earn a permanent spot on the Global Giving website, giving Mercy Beyond Borders’ Micro-Enterprise Project more online visibility with new audiences - and that will be great for the women and girls of South Sudan! If you feel inspired to help, here's how:
1) During August, go to GlobalGiving.org
2) Search for Dining for Women and select the project “Micro-Enterprise Loans Improve Life for 45 Women in South Sudan.”
3) Click the "Give Now" button. Please consider a $40 gift, or whatever you can afford. And ask a friend to do the same!
Thank You for participating! Deadline for reaching our goal is August 31.