Note: This is a letter I received from Tom Pritchard of Sudan Sunrise. The disastrous violence caused by the invasion of Sudan’s northern army in the Abyei region sent thousands fleeing. Many have turned up at the Turalei Primary School that Manute Bol founded in his hometown. For more background on Abyei, see Problems in the Abyei Region.

June 4, 2011
Dear Friends of Sudan Sunrise,

Due to the May 21st  attack by the Government of Sudan on Abyei, there are now 15,000 refugees in Turalei, Manute Bol’s hometown and the location of the primary school.  Two days after the attack, refugees from Abyei began arriving in Turalei on foot, hungry, exhausted and devastated.  Almost immediately the stock of food in Turalei was depleted, along with gasoline and other necessities.

The UN responded quickly and has begun to provide food to the refugees and plastic sheeting for rudimentary shelters.

Even before the attack on Abyei, the permanent enrollment at the school had exploded from 350 students in April, to 700 students in May, due to Southern Sudanese returnees relocating to the South prior to the July 9th Independence.

In the days after the attack on Abyei the school provided shelter for children, many of whom had been separated from their families.  To maintain a semblance of normalcy during this crisis the school has remained open and continues to function, despite the extreme overcrowding.  Fortunately, the school is providing not only an education for these 700 children, but also water and a free lunch.

I am writing to ask for your help.  There is an urgent need for five more classrooms, a permanent kitchen and a large pavilion.  We need these  additional facilities not only because the permanent enrollment in the school has doubled, but also because the school is now serving the wider community in this refugee crisis.

The children in Turalei have so little.  I ask you to make a special gift on their behalf so that we can provide the children with adequate classrooms, so that even in the midst of this crisis they can receive the gift of education, food and stability.  We can’t fix the situation, but we can help this school be a shining light of hope.

May God bless the children, all who are touched by this crisis, and all who labor to come to their aid.

With deep gratitude to you and your partnership in this effort,

Tom Prichard
Executive Director

p.s.  For more information on the crisis, here is an article that came out June 4  –

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