A group of 16 women from Yei for example is gathering food items to give to hungry people, especially women and children in the war affected areas of South Sudan, especially Jonglei State.
The head of the group, Edina Tumalu, says they have waited in vein for far too long for the international community to respond to the crisis.
We just cannot con- tinue waiting for the international com- munity to bring food to the hungry people.”We just cannot continue waiting for the international community to bring food to the hungry people. We need to do it ourselves, and stop starvation,” she explains.
She urges other South Sudanese to help provide for those at risk, saying people need help now, before they die from starvation.
The group has a motto: It starts with us,” and say they will contribute part of their harvests from their farms and gardens. We do not have the money. But we have got food from our harvest. If everyone of us donates some… it can save someone’s life somewhere,” Edina says.
They collect and store non-perishable food like maize and beans and will travel all around their villages meeting organised groups of people to explain their idea and collect food.
Their efforts were inspired by one of their group members, Rosa Tumalu, who has displaced neighbours from Jonglei in dire need for immediate food assistance. She described how the family survives on stalks of maize they gather in the gardens of people in the neighbourhood.
It is this very sad situation that my neighbours are going through that touched me to join this group,” Rosa says.
According to Rosa Tumalu, they intend to involve their chiefs in their localities. Further, she went on to say they intend to involve churches as well as all other interested individuals.
It all starts with us. We need to start to help ourselves first.”Rosa believes in averting the current food crisis, especially in the war torn parts of her country, saying it needs concerted action rather than dependence on overseas aid.
If we cannot do it ourselves locally, no one is going to do it for us,” she says. It all starts with us. We need to start to help ourselves first.”
Rosa does not blame the international community for delaying to respond to the food crisis in the country. She thinks the failure comes from the South Sudanese people themselves.
However the women still face logistical challenges like arranging the transportation of food from Yei County to Jonglei as they do not have vehicles nor money to hire trucks.