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A consortium of hope

In 1997, I lived in a tent in the village of Nyamlell in Southern Sudan. It was a former British garrison town and our “compound” was based around the only concrete structure for miles. It could have been quite idyllic, if circumstances were different.

Civil war

The village was about 80 km south of the Bahr al-Arab waterway, the traditionally accepted border between north and south. The protracted Sudanese civil war led to over 700,000 people being at risk of starvation. Concern were one of the few (if not the only) aid agencies operating in Nyamlell, distributing food and providing medical care for the malnourished.

At the time, Southern Sudan was one of the poorest regions in the world. By July 1997, 10,000 tonnes of food aid were being delivered every month, by air, to impoverished communities in the south of Sudan.Here’s a TV report from the time:

Positive changes

I returned to Nyamlell in September 2009. There was still great need but there was a palpable sense of hope, too. The changes in the community were astounding. The village market was vibrant. The health centre was providing primary care to thousands. Schools were educating children and farms were producing food.

It’s rare that we ever get an opportunity to look back at work delivered over ten or more years, but it was heart-warming to see the impact this work has had.  

An immeasurable difference

Dozens of different people have worked for Concern in Nyamlell over the past eleven years. They have delivered projects supported by hundreds, if not thousands, of different individuals, companies, community groups and governments. I hope that those who were part of this magnificent consortium of hope get to read this. Your concern has made an immeasurable difference to the lives of thousands.