Imagine yourself as a Sudanese refugee, displaced and homeless in a different country from where you used to live. While thousands of Sudanese refugees live in designated refugee camps in Kenya, thousands have also found their way to the urban centers of their host country.
Women are particularly hard hit as refugees. With husbands either dead or fighting in the civil war, these women have to fend for themselves and their families in a foreign country. They live in cheap and unhygienic housing without access to food, water, medical care, clothing and education. They cant speak the native language and dont know English, the international language.
Thats where the Sudanese Womens Association in Nairobi steps in. This Lutheran World Relief partner works to improve the livelihoods of Sudanese refugee families in Kenyan urban centers. The project promotes education, a micro-finance facility to give credit to beneficiaries in order to start small businesses, as well as training SWAN members on peace initiatives so they can influence the peace process, if and when, they return to their native country. The goal is to empower these women economically, socially and politically.
These women are learning English as a second language as part of their education process. It helps them in setting up small businesses and working in the business world.
Anna Yom Gideon, a SWAN member, says, In nine months of English classes it has encouraged me in many ways:
" In communication with people, to stand in front of people without fear.
" The daily lessons, which were being given to me by the teacher have given me the strength to think for my future, what I am going to do to help my people.
This project, like all other LWR supported projects, gives hope of a better life to people that may not have had that chance. Martha Joshua, a SWAN member, sums it up by saying, I would advise SWAN to continue giving the women from the South Sudan courses in English so that their skills are developed to enable (them) to participate efficiently in the development of the country after the liberation.
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