Pupils from Palabek settlement camp in Obiya Palaro from Fr. Cyprian Odongo – Obiya Palaro 2019-03-02

St. Mauritz Obiya Palaro has received 32 pupils from Palabek refugees’ Settlement camp. These are children of the refugees from South Sudan who are in Uganda due to war and fighting in their country. Palabek settlement camp is located 77kilometers North towards South Sudan from our projects in Obiya Palaro Gulu. Many of these children do not have their parents and some do not know whether their parents are alive or not because when the war and fighting broke out in South Sudan, people were scattered and some managed and made it to Uganda and these children came along with them. Many international and local non-governmental organisations are trying their best to help them by meeting some basic needs. 

Personally, I have visited the camp many times. Our volunteers from Muenster Germany in the person of Judith Eveding, Sabrina Jevric, Christina Strobel, Henrike Quest and Nicola Tomlin have visited this Settlement camp. In 2018 November Uli, Andrea and John who visited the projects in Obiya Palaro also extended their visit to the Settlement camp. 

Fr. Arasu Lazarus who is officially appointed by the Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese is taking care of the basic spiritual needs for many refugees in the camp and through supports of Don Bosco community worldwide they are running many activities for the refugees. In cooperation with the families of the children, camp leaders, local leaders, government offices and the priests who are based and working in the camp we have agreed to move some of these children out the camp and bring them to place where they can learn something different which can give them hope and therefore Obiya Palaro Gulu was found to be one of the best places can offer them good environment to be educated and also learn and see the projects since there are most of the basic things like running water, electricity, hospital, etc compared to what is offered in the settlement camp. 

These children are affected psychologically by what they went through like seeing their parents or guidance murdered, other siblings abducted or killed, spending nights in the jungles sometimes in heavy tropical rain, seeing friends and relatives sexually abused by armed soldiers, walking long distance without food and all shorts unspeakable things that some of are afraid to speak about them.

On arrival in Obiya Palaro from the settlement camp, after medical examinations from our medical station or health centre in Obiya Palaro, many of these children were found to have a lot of health complicated cases like skin diseases, poor hygiene, malnourished, some are HIV Positive and are on ARVs treatments, and many others. 

The projects in St. Mauritz Obiya offer some basic things that are needed to make these children have hope through providing clean water, better food, routine check ups in the health centre and offering basic treatments, education, and spiritual activities like celebrating mass and singing in the church and other games like football and netball and others. As a priest and as someone who spent have of his life during war in the Northern part of Uganda, I am constantly encouraging them not to lose hope because the northern of Uganda also experienced war and fighting and these projects in Obiya Palaro survived of which during the time of war it was referred to as a corner of hope. They should be focused on their education so that after war they can go build their country.

An appeal:

Dear friends and all well-wishers, I am appealing for supports to help these children to be much better when there here because our capacity can not solder all the things needed for them. They basic things for their education like books, school fees, school uniforms as in the case of Uganda, bed sheets and blankets, food, medical fees for their treatments, and others. Any donation will help us to make the children from South Sudan have a better life in Obiya Palaro. 

Thank you very much. 

Yours Fr. Cyprian Odongo 

Parish Priest St. Mauritz Obiya Palaro.