Mothers’ Union Salisbury in touch with Mothers’ Union South Sudan

The Mothers’ Union in the Diocese of Salisbury played its part last week in welcoming over 80 Bishops principally from the South Sudan and their wives to Salisbury from Canterbury following the Lambeth Conference. Sandra Gamble, president of the Mothers' Union in our diocese, has shared more.

Our job, as part of the Salisbury-Sudans Partnership Lambeth Hospitality Committee, was to arrange for their luggage (in total some 200+ items) to be off-loaded from arriving coaches at the Exeter Street Gate and delivered to a marquee in front of the Cathedral School, and then tagged, numbered, recorded, stored and safeguarded while the Bishops and their wives joined Bishop Stephen for a reception and lunch at the Cathedral School. They were also able to visit The Close, meet their host families and attend Evensong in the Cathedral. It was a joyous day for all. 

I had the added delight the next morning of meeting The Most Rev. Stephen Dokolo, Archbishop of Amadi and Bishop of the Diocese of Lui and his wife Mama Lillian, who is Patron of the Diocese of Lui Mothers’ Union in South Sudan. They requested a meeting and we talked about their diocese and the difficult work of the Mothers’ Union there. 

I learnt that the Diocese of Lui is a rural war conflicted area with a population of over 170,000, of whom 90% are Christian. The majority attending church are women and most of the women are MU members. 

The goal of the Diocese of Lui’s Mothers’ Union is to enhance the spiritual and socio-economic programmes among the women, the latter through the introduction of various income generating projects that would lead to development not only for women but also for entire communities. 

However, there are many issues. In an agricultural area, there is a lack of modern tools. Better agricultural methods are needed, as well as improved access to markets. For example, in the villages, grinding flour often depends on the traditional method of women manually using stones. A flour grinding initiative could increase job opportunities and reduce the workload for rural women if more machines in villages, like the one provided by American friends at the Kediba Grinding Mill could be made available. 

Improved tailoring equipment would also be helpful. A successful project has trained many women, particularly widows and single mothers, and given them new skills. The appeal is for new tailoring machines. 

Women are playing a key role in agriculture by working very hard with their hands to produce crops like sorghum, beans, maize and grand nuts in their gardens for the upkeep of their families but again provisions and equipment are in short supply. 

Sadly, a lack of funding and supply is holding back progress. Our next step is to contact Mary Sumner House to identify MU central fundraising policy for these types of issues. 

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