As international aid is being sent to the displaced people who have fled the ongoing violence in Darfur, western Sudan, we need to remember the small minority of Christians among them. As is often the case in crisis situations where Christians are a minority, these Christian refugees could be excluded from the international aid distribution process. Through Barnabas Fund you can help make sure Darfuri Christians are fed like others in Darfur.
Excluded Christians are not forgotten
There are more than 3.5 million people in Darfur who are completely reliant on international aid. The small Christian community in Darfur are vulnerable to being excluded at the grass-roots end of the distribution process, as local organisations run by the Muslim majority are likely to discriminate against Christians.
Barnabas Fund has been helping in Darfur since December 2004 to ensure that the Christians do not miss out. We are providing food aid directly to 100 Christian families, distributed through Sudanese church leaders. The families receive food parcels, apportioned on family size, containing items such as sorghum, white beans, lentils, rice and oil. The aid sent by Barnabas Fund has enabled Christian families to stay together and has given them hope.
"The relief work restored their lives, not only physically, but also spiritually..." commented one of the Christians organising the distribution.
A broken land
Since spring 2003 there has been violent and bloody conflict in Darfur as the Sudanese armed forces and the government-backed militia, known as the Janjaweed, have fought against rebel groups seeking independence. Together with the Sudanese government the Janjaweed have destroyed hundreds of villages, killed tens of thousands of people, and raped and assaulted thousands of women and girls.
Despite the Darfur Peace Agreement between the Sudanese government and a rebel group in May 2006 the violence has increased. In the meantime more than 2 million civilians have fled their homes. Without proper shelter, healthcare or proper provision of food, they live in constant fear of attacks from the army and militia, who steal, rape and kill with impunity. They have no hope of returning to their homes, nor can they cultivate the land where they are living while the conflict continues.
Prayer and practical outpouring of love
Christians in Darfur say, "We are praying our Lord will continue to heal this land from blood shedding, to stop hatred."
We want to join with the Christians of Darfur in praying for peace, and for all who are suffering in this conflict. But as we pray, we must also do what we can to meet their physical needs. As you respond to the crisis in Darfur, you may like to send help specifically to your Christian brothers and sisters through Barnabas Fund. Not only will it feed them physically, but also they will know how they are being remembered by the family of faith.
As one of the Christian organisers commented, "The beneficiaries notice and unbelievably love our concern for them during the sufferings they have been living during the war."
To provide food for a family of 7 or 8 people for a month costs £75, including transport costs to this remote region. That is about £10 per person, per month.
If you can help, please click this [Link] to donate online using our secure server. (Please quote project reference 48-511 for the Darfur Crisis Relief Fund)
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. (Please quote project reference 48-511 for the Darfur Crisis Relief Fund)
If you prefer to send a cheque by post or would like to find out other ways to donate to Barnabas Fund, click this [Link] . (Please quote project reference 48-511 for the Darfur Crisis Relief Fund)