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Supporting orphans in Blue Nile State
13 February 2009

Damazine, Sudan: UNV volunteers in Damazine – Blue Nile State – Sudan, joined other colleagues worldwide to observe International Volunteer Day. A group of UNV volunteers organized a visit to an orphanage for children.

The orphanage – Abulfeed Islami Centre for Islamic Studies – was established a few years ago by Mr. Adam Musa Mohamed at his house in Damazine town. He started a religious study session in his house to cater for those who wanted to study the Qu'ran during normal school vacation.

However, it turned out that many of the children who attended his classes were homeless children who were roaming in town while their contemporaries attended normal schools. He housed those who were totally vulnerable but also continued conducting classes for any other willing students.

Last year, he approached the state Government for a portion of land where he could put up a building to house the children. He was allocated a small portion where he has now constructed a small mosque and two grass huts where 76 children are accommodated.

He and the children live in very poor conditions since he does not receive assistance. Recently when fire burned down the premises, the UNMIS Staff Welfare Officer (an international UNV volunteer) and his colleagues from DPKO and the Pakistan Battalion donated a few items to assist the stranded children.

A few staff of the Pakistan Battalion donated a water tank which is currently under construction.

On 6 November 2008, international UNV volunteers Michael Were (Kenyan and focal point for IVD in Blue Nile State), Juliana Hakalabo (Zambian), Dr. Patrick Nzene (Nigerian) and Fidel Tugume (Ugandan) spent a day with Mr. Adam and the children at the orphanage as part of the activities to celebrate IVD.

They donated food comprising of 100kg of flour, 100kg of beans, 5kg of sugar, 5kg of rice, 5kg of cooking oil, 20 mosquito nets, 30 bars of washing soap, medicine to de-worm the children, candies and sweets. The donation also served as gift to the centre for celebrating Eid Mubarak which was being observed on 8-9 December 2008.

Plans are underway to hold a major medical camp at the centre in January 2009. The Officer-in-Charge at UNICEF in Blue Nile State has offered to assist the UNV volunteers with medical items for the camp.

Dr. Patrick Nzene and Juliana Hakalabo will perform the medical checks for the children and carry out treatment for minor ailments. The children seemed to be suffering from coughs largely caused by the stuffy conditions in which they live

Recreational facilities are lacking at the centre. Mr. Adam appealed for donations to help him set up at least a proper kitchen and dormitory for the children. The volunteers intend to coordinate with other well wishers and continue to provide assistance by engaging in cleaning exercises and any other activity that may help the centre improve.