Polish Church NGO’s charitable drive to help South Sudanese slavery victims

Organised by an international Catholic pastoral aid organisation Aid to the Church in Need’s (ACN) Polish branch (PKWP), the “Free-Unfree” (“Wolni-Niewolni”) campaign’s purpose is to collect money, which will be forwarded to a local organisation in Kenya that will save South Sudanese from slavery.

“Slavery, harassment, human trafficking, organ trafficking – all of this make human movement opportune for all those who make a profit of human misery,” said the head of the Polish branch of the ACN Reverend Waldemar Cisło during the inauguration of the campaign that took place in the northeastern Polish city of Olsztyn.

The money will be collected throughout Poland. Willing donors in Poland and abroad may contribute by sending text messages to 72405 at a cost of PLN 2.46 (EUR 0.58) gross.

The money will also be used to rehabilitate children and adult victims of human trafficking in Africa. The collected funds will be handed over to HAART – Awareness Against Human Trafficking, a Kenyan non-governmental organisation.

“We don’t know exactly how many people have been kidnapped,” said HAART head Radosław Malinowski, adding that “it is said that 40 mln people are kidnapped worldwide per year. In Kenya, the scale of the phenomenon, unfortunately, remains unknown.”

Moreover, the funds will be invested in medical care, legal and psychological aid. “Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese families seek aid at provisional medical centres, including pregnant women and mothers,” reported Poland’s public broadcaster TVP.

The drive will help educate minors and provide them with essentials. “Children need help. They have no clothes, no basic school items, no notebooks, no handbooks, they’ve got nothing to write with,” said one of the African volunteers. These are children and women who often fall prey to manhunters and human traffickers.

Meanwhile, thanks to the collected money adult victims of human trafficking would receive pertinent training, which is of utmost importance, as without appropriate schooling, people often fall into the hands of human traffickers again.

The campaign is carried out under the patronage of Poland’s public broadcaster TVP. The plight of Christians in South Sudan

In Poland in 2019, Stephen Nyodho, bishop of the Malakal diocese in South Sudan, said that “the suffering of the people of South Sudan started after [acquiring] independence and when war broke out in 2013. People are suffering for the most part, the flood two months ago compounded their dire predicament,” He added that the internal conflict between politicians drove South Sudanese citizens out to neighbouring countries including Uganda and Ethiopia.

“When the war broke out in 2013, nothing was spared… people were killed even in hospitals, in churches,” said Bishop Nyodho, adding that “the properties of the church were either abandoned or looted… the churches were destroyed, even the school where I studied was reduced to rubble.”

Naming other plights of the South Sudanese people, the bishop also said that nearly 60 percent of people have no access to drinking water and that the displaced individuals live in a huge camp, occupied by thousands in the capital, Juba.

According to the ACN, 60.5 percent of South Sudanese citizens are Christians, out of whom 40 percent are Catholics and 20.7 percent are Protestants. The UN reports suggest that over half of the nation’s population, namely 7 mln people, are starving. The country has been receiving around USD 1.5 mln of aid yearly.

The South Sudan Civil War, that has been raging since 2013, also gravely affects children's mental health. Most of the former fighters are aged between 15-19-years-old. One-third of them are girls. Reportedly, 35 percent of children were diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The conflict has claimed a total of 383,000 lives.

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