In Advent 2020 Sr Marlene Hixon, a Franciscan Missionary of Mary, sought your help for a Sudanese widow, Rebecca Abuoi Nak Ajak and her seven children who at the time were in desperate circumstances.
Marlene has worked with Sudanese Refugee Women in Australia, principally in the Blacktown area since 2020. Here request related to two sisters, Rebecca and here children in t South Sudan and Tabitha, a Sudanese mother in Blacktown.
Rebecca had phoned Tabitha seeking financial help to escape the life-threatening situation they were experiencing. Sever floods had destroyed Rebecca’s home and the pharmacy that was the source of income with which she supported her children since here husband’s death in a car accident. Homeless and without income Rebecca, an even greater danger threatened Rebecca and her children; violet militias were killing tribal members; Rebecca is from a minority tribal group, and so feared for her life and the lives of her children.
Tabitha and her partner William knew only too well the danger Rebecca was in, these militia had killed 25 members of William’s clan. As low income earners they did not have the needed financial resources to help Rebecca escape. They sought help from Marlene, who wrote to St Francis Xaviers’s Social Justice Group.
A substantial sum of money was needed to fly Rebecca and seven children from her location in Bor to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Airfares were expensive, but to go by bus was far too dangerous. From Juba the the family intended to continue by bus to a Refugee Camp in Uganda, a place where other family members had found safety and the children could continue their education.
Thanks to you, parishioners of St Francis Xavier and parishioners of St Finbar’s Sans Souci, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, the Ursuline Sisters, one of whom taught English to Tabitha when she arrived in Australia, and generous private donations, Rebecca and here children were able to fly to Juba, where they were met by Tabitha’s brother.
Rebecca decided it was safe to only send 4 children at a time on the bus from Juba to Kiryandongo Refugee Camp in Uganda, a place set up by the Ugandan government in 1990 for refugee resettlement, particularly those fleeing conflict in Sudan. Rebecca’s cousin came and accompanied the four children to the camp. Rebecca followed latter with the remaining children and has since registered herself and her children with the UN as refugees.
Rebecca’s eldest daughter, Agnes, who is 20, decided not to stay in the camp. She wanted to become a nurse and that was not going to be possible in the camp, so she returned to Juba, where she is now fulfilling her ambition with her mother’s blessing.
Marlene helped Agnes with her enrolment in a nursing programme in Juba. There were sufficient funds to assist Agnes for this year and Marlene will continue with further help later if needed.