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March 2014

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In This Issue
A Desperate Dispatch
Crucial Teacher Training
Partnering in Prayer
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Dispatch from a Desperate Nation
Fleeing the violence.

Many South Sudanese have spent the past three months fleeing tribal and sectarian violence in the hardest hit towns of Bor and Bentieu. Their major escape hatch -- the Nile River -- was recently overtaken by rebels on both river banks. For Sister Carolyn and other members of the coalition, danger is never very far away, though she says much of the country is actually living in peace. She reports that the teacher training programs she has helped establish are serving a secondary purpose: they are helping teachers from any number of tribal groups come together peacefully for a common purpose.  
Sisters in Solidarity with South Sudan
Teachers in training become well-versed in their subjects and more effective teachers due to the efforts of Solidarity with South Sudan volunteers. 
It's not every day that Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur establish new ministries inside brand new countries. Yet, this is what has happened in South Sudan, a nation still fraught with violence despite its three-year independence from Sudan.Our Congregation has joined forces with other religious congregations as well as with South Sudan's bishops to form a teacher training program called Solidarity with South Sudan. Why? Because building a strong educational infrastructure is integral to liberating people from generational poverty and violence. 
Partnering in Prayer
Sister Carolyn (right) leads members of the Solidarity coalition in prayer at the start of a recent strategy meeting in Juba. 
"Prayer is only part of our efforts in South Sudan," says Sister Carolyn Buhs. "But it's the most important part." In the past three years, the Solidarity with South Sudan coalition has developed programs for classroom teachers as well as training for midwives and registered nurses. In addition to strategizing about teaching methods,organizing administrative records and establishing libraries, Sister Carolyn has taught social studies and foundational English teacher in-service programs since she arrived in South Sudan in the fall of 2011. 
Education at the Heart of Reconciliation
As Sister Carolyn writes from South Sudan, education overturns prejudice and encourages reconciliation. Most of us cannot imagine the type of tribal warfare that can wipe out entire communities in a matter of minutes. We can, however, imagine how to begin the process of peace, which is why the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Congregational Leadership Team issued a call for us to join forces with other women religious in South Sudan. None of us can bring about peace alone. We must all stand together in living the Gospel.

With a grateful heart,
Sister Leonore Coan
Director of Mission Support