Catherine Migidi

Saving Widows and Children through Self Sufficiency

Opportunities for women to support themselves in places like South Sudan are few and difficult to come by. If a wife loses her husband, she often loses her means to survive. 

With no income, a woman can suddenly find herself with no way to buy food, or clothes for her family. Children risk malnutrition and illness. There is no money for school or medicine. Severe poverty threatens the future of the entire family.

Catherine Migidi is a 35 year-old mother of four children, who is extremely grateful for the difference Star Support Group made in their lives.

Star Support Group (SSG) is a Sudan Relief Fund partner in Yambio, South Sudan. They offer programs to at-risk families to equip them with skills for job opportunities and help them achieve self sufficiency. 

When Catherine’s husband died, she was left with the responsibility of providing for four children – one son and three daughters. Her greatest  need was food

Star Support Group offers members a chance to be part of a community farm. With crops and livestock already in place, Catherine and her children wouldn’t need to struggle during the weeks and months it would take for food to grow on their own land. Catherine could work by helping to maintain the farm, and receive food immediately for her household.

In the meantime, Catherine was able to receive tools and resources to establish her own kitchen garden for her family. By now her personal garden is flourishing, and she’s able to grow enough food to sustain her family of five.

Catherine also does small-scale farming as an additional way to achieve income for her household, by selling the surplus locally. Through a scholarship provided by SSG, her son, the oldest child, is enrolled in school. He attends Masia Primary School in seventh grade. Education makes all the difference for children in South Sudan – the difference between a future with opportunity or one marked by the debilitating shackles of poverty.

Catherine even had the opportunity to bolster her own education. Through Star Support Group, she enrolled in an adult English class and graduated two years ago in November.  In the past three years alone, SSG has helped hundreds of families gain the skills and resources to provide basic needs for their households, saving untold lives of men, women, and children from a tragic outcome. This is possible because of your partnership to support SSG’s transformative work.

Their family story would have been drastically different without the critical assistance of Star Support Group in their time of crisis. Now the trajectory of five lives has been changed for the good. Catherine summed it up when she told us, “I am so grateful for the support from SSG. May God bless you all.”

These stories of Lives Saved are possible because of your support to Sudan Relief Fund and programs we partner with like Star Support Group. Thank you for helping to save families like Catherine’s and turn their lives around from despair to hope.

Would you like to pray for us? Sign up for our email prayer group to receive weekly emails sharing important needs to pray for. You’ll join a faith community around the globe praying to bring hope and help to suffering people in a forgotten part of the world. Click here to find out more.

Baby Mibi

Saving Children Like Baby Mibi at St. Theresa Hospital

One in every ten children in South Sudan will die before their fifth birthday. This tragedy is unacceptable in today’s world. And together we’re partnering to fight this daunting statistic.

St. Theresa Hospital in Nzara is one of the bastions of hope in the battle to upend these dire statistics. Every day this vital healthcare facility represents an outpost of help for some 300,000 people it serves across the southwestern region of South Sudan, as well as hopeful patients who travel across borders from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic to find care they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Baby Mibi is one success story illustrating how St. Theresa is fighting child mortality one young life at a time.

Without critical medical intervention, Baby Mibi was on track to become another tragedy. He was his young mother’s firstborn child. But at 14 months old, he was only the size of an infant. “Failure to thrive” is how he was described. He had a history of cough, watery diarrhea, and overall body weakness. When he arrived, he was unable to even sit up.

Many people in rural parts of South Sudan have no means of transportation, one of the numerous hurdles to obtaining health care. Somehow Mibi’s mother was able to access a motorbike, and she brought her tiny toddler on motorbike from their home near the border of the Congo all the way to Nzara to get help. 

His outlook was disheartening. Besides being diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition, he was suffering from severe malaria – another major cause of death among infants and children in Africa. A staggering 900,000 children die from the mosquito-borne scourge every year across the continent. As a result, Baby Mibi’s heart and lungs were also in distress.

After three days of aggressive treatment, he was showing no improvement. But on day four, and after trying adjustments in his protocol to bring out all the stops to save him, Baby Mibi showed the first signs of encouragement. He started to turn around. Within days he evidenced significant improvement. By the time he was released to go home, his heart and lungs were clear and he was malaria free. He had also received vital nutrition through IV. 

His mother was astonished at this new little toddler who came out of St. Theresa Hospital so different from when he’d gone in – thanks to the excellent medical care found in an unexpected place. And thanks to people across the world who care about children like Baby Mibi.

Stories like this are possible because of the generosity and compassion of donors, like you, who support St. Theresa’s medical mission, bringing treatment to so many who wouldn’t have access to health care. Thank you for partnering with us to save lives and give children in South Sudan a more hopeful future.

Would you like to pray for us? Sign up for our email prayer group to receive weekly emails sharing important needs to pray for. You’ll join a faith community around the globe praying to bring hope and help to suffering people in a forgotten part of the world. Click here to find out more.

Eating Lilies, Leaves and Locusts 

“As long as my children are alive, I’ll keep going.”

Families are taking unimaginable measures to feed their children as famine escalates in the Sudan.

In parts of South Sudan, people are surviving on water lilies.

“People are eating leaves and locusts to try survive because there is no food” – Aid Worker

“I am just so, so tired,” says Nyaguey, a 43 year-old mother. Before the land became flooded, she was a corn farmer with a small but livable income. She could buy staples and afford shoes for her children.

Now her home is submerged. Her village is one of the last remnants of land above water. Her days are consumed by slogging through floodwaters to search for underwater stalks of the water lily plant which is now their only food source.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donate.png

Some who venture into the swamps die of poisonous snake bites from the endemic predators in the murky water. Others suffer chronic diarrheal illnesses. All have become malnourished.

Retrieving the roots from the water is only the beginning. The stalks are bitter, hard for the body to digest, and have little nutrition. Transforming them into something edible requires hours of manual labor to cut, pound, dry, and sift.

Despite the risks and grueling work, Nyaguey returns each day to repeat the exhausting process. “What other choice is there?” she asks. “As long as my children are alive,” she says, “I’ll keep going.”

A mother slogs through floodwaters on her daily ritual to search for
water lily roots — the only food they have left.

No one is exempt from the famine here, not even government officials. “Even I eat the water lilies, and I’m in government,” said Kim Kiir, a local administrator in one of the affected regions.

Parts of South Sudan have been covered by standing floodwaters nearly the size of Lake Michigan for over two years. So for now, people like Nyaguey will get up and wade through the waters once again in search of food, simply trying to survive another day.

In the remote Nuba Mountains of Sudan, famine has driven starving families to other desperate measures. Food has become so scarce, people are eating leaves off the trees and locusts to fend off starvation.

“If there is no help from humanitarian organizations, we don’t know what will happen,” said Kafirad Kuku Kajam Tia of the SRRA, a relief and rehabilitation organization working in Sudan. 

As the world looks the other way, starving children resort to
eating tree leaves and locusts in a horrific food crisis.

In this agrarian region, people rely on crops for sustenance farming. Last year’s yield was crippled by bad rains. An attack of locusts followed, destroying the meager remnants of crops that survived. 

The war in Sudan is making the food shortage even worse. The arrival of refugee families escaping war has meant there’s even less food to go around. Even so, the Nubans share the pittance they have with displaced families, even if it means consuming the insects to stay alive – something difficult to imagine in the western world.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donate.png

“The little food people collected for their families was shared with the people displaced from Khartoum, neighboring states and counties, and it is now finished,” said Kuku. 

Meanwhile, commodity prices have skyrocketed from the ongoing war, and supply routes are choked off. This leaves the people in remote areas like Nuba almost completely isolated.

Kuku says the area has received zero humanitarian aid since the war broke out back in April of last year. He appealed for humanitarian agencies and well-wishers to remember them and rescue them. “The situation is worsening every day,” he reported.

Since the beginning of the famine, Sudan Relief Fund has been working with our networks on the ground to distribute emergency food, clean water, and medicine to affected areas in South Sudan, and in refugee camps filled with war-displaced families from Sudan. 

We’ve been able to reach many. But there’s a staggering need for more resources to stop starvation and prevent widespread catastrophe. Already families are barely surviving. Please send a gift of any amount to help with this ongoing crisis.

If you can, consider becoming a monthly sustaining supporter, which makes it possible to ensure reliable, consistent help for people in crisis – something so needed in our world of uncertainty. Each one of us can make a difference.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donate.png

New Center Extends Education to Young Adults and Community

Loreto Rumbek Schools, a Sudan Relief Fund partner, is a leading force in educating South Sudan’s future adults, and a pioneer in achieving equal educational rights for girls. Now the campus is bringing the opportunity to learn professional development skills to adults as well.

The Loreto Rumbek campus celebrated the grand opening of their new Loreto Education Center this month. The facility will accommodate classes for instruction in English, teacher training, tailoring, and computer skills for young adult men and women in the local community. 

In a country where school attendance and literacy rates are some of the lowest in the world, education makes a life changing difference for individuals and families. Directed by Sister Orla Treacy, Loreto Schools consistently turns out students with top scores in the nation and launches many graduates on to higher education.

A skilled community is a more prosperous, self sustaining community, strengthening families and the local infrastructure. Over 100 people have already applied to attend classes at the new Education Center, and 60 are currently registered for the first session.

Sudan Relief Fund is proud to partner with Loreto schools, and thankful to donors who are helping transform lives in Rumbek every day through the gift of education.

Record Temps Cause Temporary Shutdown

During March, the Ministry of Education ordered all primary and secondary schools in the country to close for two weeks, during a period of record high temperatures hitting the nation. 

The closures occurred as parts of the country reported temperatures of 106 degrees, with children ordered to stay home because of the potential health hazard posed. The high temps occurred earlier than normal in the season, sparking concerns of heat stroke for people in areas primarily without air conditioning or circulating fans. Schools reopened April 3rd.

The Trucks Have Arrived

A long awaited convoy of trucks recently arrived to the delight of the Loreto Rumbek campus, bringing much anticipated supplies and equipment for staff and students.

Roads in the nation are notoriously difficult to navigate, and during rainy season can become impossible to traverse for months at a time. The rainy season typically stretches from April to November, so the receipt of supplies at this timely juncture was cause for joy among the staff.

Some of the vital resources included in the shipment were furnishings for the new Loreto Education Center, workbooks for the primary school, and medicines for the health clinic.

Many of these achievements, from acquiring necessary school items, to opening centers for education to the public, to transforming the future for children through the gift of education, are only possible because of support from our donors. Thank you for partnering with Loreto Schools to accomplish this life changing work. You are impacting lives in lasting ways for people who would not have these opportunities without your generosity and compassion.

Lucia Anthony

New NICU Saves Lucia’s Preemie Baby Boy

When every minute counts and two lives wait in the balance, it becomes of utmost importance to be able to locate emergency medical care. Quickly.

Lucia was just 17 years old and pregnant with her first child when she found herself going into premature labor – a terrifying prospect for a young girl and her baby in a place where childbirth mortality is among the highest in the world.

The tragedy persists because of the widespread lack of quality healthcare for so many young women here. Girls who live too far from medical facilities often have no choice but to give birth at home on a dirt floor, facing labor without qualified medical supervision or sanitary conditions. Any complication, whether minor or severe, can turn deadly.

But Lucia was one of the lucky ones. It was eight weeks too soon for her to be giving birth. But because of a high quality medical facility within her reach – Mother of Mercy Hospital directed by missionary doctor Tom Catena and supported by our donors – Lucia and her baby would receive the best care during her tenuous premature birth.

Lucia was rushed to the hospital that represents the only place of hope in the Nuba Mountains for 300 miles in each direction. She was treated at the recently expanded maternity ward and labored all night. 

In the morning, her baby boy was admitted directly into the NICU – a newly opened wing of the hospital that serves as the ICU for babies and toddlers. That Lucia’s baby could receive critical care in a hospital NICU in this remote location is rare and remarkable. No other facility for hundreds of miles would be able to provide medical care for a premature baby.

For weeks Lucia waited and watched her tiny baby go from struggling to thriving, as he was cared for in the new wing known affectionately as Kangaroo Care. After six weeks, she was elated to learn he was considered in good condition and strong enough to thrive on his own. Lucia would be taking her baby boy home. 

While two lives were potentially saved that day Lucia arrived, she was exuberant that her new son was alive and well. She shared with staff how grateful she was for the hospital, and for the special care for preemies available at Mother of Mercy – knowing her baby wouldn’t have survived without it.

Mother of Mercy Hospital continues to fight every day to overturn the high incidence of mother and infant deaths in childbirth, by providing maternity care, emergency services, wellness checkups, and follow-up care for newborns. Under Dr. Tom Catena’s supervision, additional qualified midwives are being trained here to bring safer childbirth to more women in remote areas.

These advancements to protect women and the unborn are possible because of our donors, who continually support the mission and needs of Mother of Mercy Hospital and Dr. Tom. Each year donors supply nearly all the medicines used to run the hospital and corresponding clinics. Their support has allowed updated equipment and new additions like operating rooms, blood banks, an expanded maternity ward and new children’s wing that save many more lives. Thank you for making a difference.

Would you like to pray for us? Sign up for our email prayer group to receive weekly emails sharing important needs to pray for. You’ll join a faith community around the globe praying to bring hope and help to suffering people in a forgotten part of the world. Click here to find out more.


A Reunion Against the Odds: Boy Raised at Orphanage Finally Meets his Father

Obbo doesn’t remember the day he came to live at St. Bakhita Orphanage. He has no recollection of being entrusted into the care of the faithful Sister Bianca Bii, who has courageously watched over orphans for decades and still oversees 100 children today.

Obbo was just a one week old infant when he arrived at the orphanage. For all intents and purposes, he was an orphan of war – a tragic result of the simple fact that Obbo’s father, Eliakim, was of Eritrean descent, and his mother was Ethiopian.

No sooner had Eliakim and his wife given birth to their one week old son, than a violent and bloody war broke out between Eritrea and Ethiopia. At that tumultuous time, couples in marriages between Eritreans and Ethiopians were forced to divorce, and families were torn apart. Obbo’s mother fled. A baby boy was caught in the middle. 

Eliakim did not want to abandon his infant son. But in the midst of the conflict he had no way to care for his brand new baby. Having to make a quick and very difficult decision, he brought Obbo to Sister Bianca at St. Bakhita Orphanage. He asked her to take good care of him.

Obbo grew up never knowing any life or family other than that at St. Bakhita Orphanage. If you can call an orphan “lucky,” Obbo was one of the lucky ones to have made it to a place where he was well cared for. Thanks to faithful donors who sponsor St. Bakhita Orphanage, children here have enough food to eat, clean water to drink, clean clothes to wear, their own bed to sleep in, medical care, and the opportunity to go to school.

Obbo lives in a newly constructed building that by the generosity of donors was just completed. The expanded area allows for more children to be taken in. Then one day, an unexpected thing happened. 

A man came to St. Bakhita Orphanage asking about Obbo. It was his father. For the first time in thirteen years, an emotional Eliakim was able to look upon the face of his son. He was moved with gratitude to Sister Bianca that Obbo was well and healthy, and that Eliakim was able to find him after two relocations of the orphanage from where he placed him all those years ago. 

Since the reunion between father and son, Obbo has gone to live with his father and Eliakim’s extended family. Obbo will be completing his studies and getting to know his relatives. He is happy to have the chance to get to know his father – something he never imagined would be possible.

Stories like Obbo’s are possible, but only because St. Bakhita Orphanage was there at a critical moment, and was equipped to care for him and many other children. Thanks to your support, Obbo’s orphan journey has come to a blessed conclusion, and many other orphaned children continue to have a place to call home.

Would you like to pray for us? Sign up for our email prayer group to receive weekly emails sharing important needs to pray for. You’ll join a faith community around the globe praying to bring hope and help to suffering people in a forgotten part of the world. Click here to find out more.

Eating Water Lilies to Keep from Starving

Chronic Flooding Intensifies One of World’s Worst Food Crises

“I am just so, so tired,” says Nyaguey, a 43 year-old mother. Before the land in South Sudan became flooded, she was a corn farmer with a small but livable income. She could buy sugar, coffee, and shoes for her children.

Now her home is submerged and her village is one of the last remnants of land protruding above the water. Her entire days are consumed with slogging through floodwaters for miles, searching endlessly for underwater stalks of the water lily plant that has become her family’s only food source.

Since the waters consumed cropland and reduced livestock to dry bones, desperate residents are eating whatever they can find.

Many who venture into the swampy shoals die from poisonous snakes that lurk in the murky water. Others suffer chronic diarrheal illnesses. All have become undernourished and vastly more susceptible to disease.

Once their bags are filled with stalks, the work is not over. Water lilies are bitter, hard for the body to digest, have little nutrition and require hours of manual labor to cut, pound, dry, and sift in order to make the plant barely edible.

Despite the risks and grueling work, Nyaguey returns each day to repeat the rigorous process. What other choice is there, she asks? “As long as my children are alive,” she says, “I’ll keep going.”

“Even I eat the water lilies, and I’m in government, said Kim Kiir, a local administrator in one of the flood affected regions.”

“We are very, very vulnerable,” said Reik Chatiem, a deputy administrator in the same county.

Parts of South Sudan have been covered by standing floodwaters for years. In a primarily agrarian nation, over one million displaced people fear their livelihood has been swallowed up by an expanse of water the size of Lake Michigan.

So for now, people like Nyaguey will get up and wade through the floodwaters in search of their last food source, and try to survive another day.

Read more here.

Cardinal Blesses Sudan Relief Fund Rescue Boat

Vessel Symbolizes Peace and Hope in Wake of Strife

On February 8, this year’s International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, Vatican Cardinal Michael Czerny pronounced a blessing over the Saint Josephine Bakhita and its mission – a rescue boat transporting refugees of Sudan’s war to safety inside South Sudan’s borders.

Since the war began, with the help of our donors, Sudan Relief Fund has been partnering with humanitarian organization, Caritas, and the Diocese of Malakal to fund transportation costs for the boat and provide essential supplies to families fleeing the violence as they arrive in Malakal, South Sudan. 

The blessing was given during the celebration of Mass at the end of the Cardinal’s visit to South Sudan from February 2nd to February 9. 

The occasion marked an opportunity to focus on the ideals of compassion and brotherhood, a message standing in stark contrast to the war that’s resulted in hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing to South Sudan – as well as pointing to ongoing division that’s plagued the young nation of South Sudan itself.

Christened after Josephine Margaret Bakhita – the patron saint of South Sudan, who is also recognized as the patron saint for slaves and victims of human trafficking – the boat honors St. Bakhita’s legacy of overcoming hardship and responding to oppressors with forgiveness and grace.

The newly constructed vessel, built from a combination of wood and iron, will continue to transport the backlog of stranded refugees desperate to escape Sudan’s war zone – a number that keeps growing daily. Since war broke out last April, the rescue boat has carried thousands of Sudanese refugees on the three-day journey down the river to South Sudan’s northern  border.

Said Cardinal Czerny about the St. Bakhita, “It will be a boat that leaves the storm of conflict, violence, hatred, and vengeance behind, and sails on more peaceful waters where people can live together as brothers and sisters.”

Cardinal Czerny recounted the story of the stalwart and remarkably compassionate woman  who became canonized as Saint Bakhita, a girl seized at age 7 or 8 and conscripted into brutal slavery conditions. Achieving her freedom later in life, she became a devout Catholic and dedicated her life to the Lord, always preaching a message of forgiveness – the same message Cardinal Czerny emphasized to a nation marked by internal strife.

In his presentation, the Cardinal also referred back to Pope Francis’ message, when the leader addressed the people of South Sudan in his visit last February. In that message the Pope underscored themes of freedom from oppression, and restoring humanity as a priority to achieving social and political peace.

“When we enter the logic of fighting, of division among us, of bad feelings one against the other, we lose our humanity,” Cardinal Czerny expressed. “And this is the work that Saint Bakhita teaches us…to humanize ourselves and to humanize others.” 

Sudan Relief Fund remains committed to helping rescue families who desperately need to escape the brutality of the ongoing war in Sudan. We thank you for your continued support that makes this lifesaving mission by riverboat possible for so many.

Read the full article here.

News Report Issues Dire Warning on Hunger in South Sudan

The World Food Program says South Sudan is on the verge of a devastating hunger catastrophe, according to a recent report by Al Jazeera news.
The report highlights the confluence of devastating events that have hit the struggling nation over the past four years, citing widespread flooding and drought that wiped out much of the food supply, and events on the world stage that led to significant reductions in foreign aid.

Now, the report says the population explosion from hundreds of thousands of Sudanese people escaping war by entering South Sudan, is making the existing food crisis that much worse. The displaced arrive at border camps that are overcrowded and under-resourced, in a nation where 75 percent of people already need humanitarian assistance.

The United Nations is calling the situation the world’s worst humanitarian crisis at this time, yet aid response has been slow and vastly insufficient.

Facing a $300 million dollar shortfall in funding, Gemma Snowdon of the World Food Programme said their organization will be able to reach less than 40 percent of the people facing severe food insecurity in South Sudan this year. And out of those, the WFP can only provide 50 percent of the rations actually needed for the most at-risk victims of hunger.

“It’s an extraordinarily tiny amount,” said Snowdon, “It’s amazing that people can survive through it.”

She reiterated that South Sudan has the highest percentage of food insecure people in the whole world.  “We feel like we’re going to see a continuing deterioration (of the situation) in South Sudan, particularly with the added conflict in Sudan pushing people across the border,” Snowdon warned.

UNICEF reports that over 9 million people, including 5 million children, are in dire need of humanitarian assistance to see them through the massive food shortage.

Sudan Relief Fund has been on the ground since the beginning of this crisis, distributing food relief in refugee camps and to vulnerable communities. Your partnership has been and will continue to be critical to save lives from the horror of starvation – a tragedy that can and should be prevented in today’s world. To send immediate help, please go here.

How You've Helped

St. Theresa Hospital Nzara

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Read More

Agok Leper Colony

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Read More

Mother of Mercy Hospital

Friday, September 1, 2023

Read More

St. Bakhita Orphanage

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Read More