Lutheran World Relief (LWR) has received a half-million dollar grant from the founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar, and his wife, Pamela Omidyar. The grant, one of the largest gifts in LWR’s history, is aimed at helping people in the “greatest danger” in the western Sudan/Chad Darfur crisis.
The Omidyar grant, received by LWR from the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Fund of the Peninsula Community Foundation of Menlo Park, Calif, recognizes LWR’s commitment to and accomplishments in humanitarian work, said LWR President, Kathryn Wolford.
The Omidyar’s generous gift, in addition to meeting the immediate needs, “will support LWR’s long-term work of restoring dignity and livelihoods, and re-weaving the social fabric torn so badly in situations such as the current crisis in Darfur,” Wolford added. The grant is already being used to provide safe drinking water, sanitation, and shelter to individuals and families displaced by the conflict in Darfur.
About one million have fled their homes as a result of the 18-month conflict that has killed as many as 50,0000. Those who have fled have made their way to the relative safety of refugee camps in neighboring Chad or elsewhere in Sudan, Africa’s largest country.
LWR and its partners in two global church aid alliances, Action by Churches Together (chaired by Wolford) and its Catholic counterpart, Caritas Internationalis, are currently seeking $17.5 million for their work in Darfur. Therefore, every dollar of the Omidyar grant to LWR will be matched by $35 from Action by Churches Together and Caritas Internationalis when the $17.5 million Darfur emergency appeal is fully funded.
Together, LWR and its partners are gearing up to assist people living and burned down villages by:
- Providing shelter, water, sanitation, bedding, and kitchen utensils for up to 500,000 homeless people and their hosts in Darfur;
- Supporting camp construction, including water and sanitation for as many as 30,000 refugees in neighboring Chad, plus providing seeds and tools for gardening.
- Providing supplementary food for 50,000 displaced children under age five;
- Providing education for children in the camps;
- Providing protection and counseling for women traumatized by rape and violence, including those who are still subject to assault outside the camps and vulnerable with their children to abuse that can occur in camp communities
Although threats are great in Darfur, for residents as well as relief providers, LWR, ACT, and Caritas say there is so much need that aid must be delivered in spite of the risks.
LWR is also urging the U.S. Administration and the United Nations to pressure the government of Sudan to ensure security in Darfur in order to allow aid to arrive and people to return to their homes.
LWR works with partners in 35 countries to help people grow food, improve health, strengthen communities, end conflicts, build livelihoods, and recover from disasters.
For more information on LWR’s advocacy efforts related to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan or to help LWR respond to the needs, visit http://www.lwr.org/sudan.