Project Responding to Sexual Violence in Darfur | December 10, 2020 update
Project Responding to Sexual Violence in Darfur: Providing Safety and Rehabilitation for Girls and Women in Darfur | Gaffar Mohammud Saeneen and Eric Reeves, Co-Chairs
Our project continues to grow both in size and effective reach; and it is responding not only to the primary health issue of girls and women seriously traumatized by sexual violence, but in providing sanitary and prophylactic materials in the face of a growing but (officially) unacknowledged Covid-19 outbreak in North Darfur (including the capital city of El Fasher, and the displaced persons camps outside the city, including the very large Zamzam camp). Food distributions are also continuing to the most needy and impoverished residents of Zamzam camp.
Counselors continue to report that girls and women are responding very well to treatment sessions, echoing what Gaffar reported to me for the last update: “victims felt relieved and happy after the sessions of talks and some of them even said to the counselors that they never thought one day someone will regard them as worthy individuals of the society.”
Tragically, many girls and women suffer from fistulas, particularly victims of gang-rape; we are beginning to keep a census of such cases, with the hope that we may be able to fund a week or two of treatment in dedicated surgical treatment in El Fasher hospital. The challenges are many, but the suffering caused by fistulas—physical and emotional—are excruciating.
Efficiencies and economies in the delivery of humanitarian assistance continue to be extraordinary, thanks to the coordinating efforts of my colleague Gaffar, with whom I am in regular contact. His account of what has been achieved recently and what is in prospect appears below.
December 10, 2020 update
–Gaffar Mohammud Saeneen
For the month of November, the following services and distributions were rendered:
- 14 counselors provided psychosexual counseling to girls and women who have been victims of sexual violence.
- 117 girls/women in total were seen as patients by the counselors. 52 were identified as suffering from severe depression and trauma.
- Approximately 1,500 bars of soaps were distributed in the 4 sections of Zamzam IDP camp (A, B, C, D).
- Over 700 virus protective masks were added to the previous distribution.
Section (A) Zamzam camp: 113 families from the poorest groups.
Section (B) Zamzam camp: 64 families from the poorest groups.
Section (C) Zamzam camp: 83 families of the poorest groups.
Section (D) Zamzam camp: 59 families from the poorest groups.
319 families benefited from the November distributions.
[On November 23, 2020 Gaffar wrote to me about the medical situation in the El Fasher region, including Zamzam camp—ER]
Yesterday, I had a lengthy meeting with Team Zamzam via WhatsApp and they told me that everything is working smoothly and all are continuing with their daily work until we meet again at the end of this month to evaluate their performance and set up new plans of action for the coming months.
Regarding the health situation in the camp and other camps in the suburbs of El Fasher, as well as the city of El Fasher itself, overall health conditions are getting worse, with a total absence and lack of attention from the state.
Team Zamzam told me that there are sick people in every corner of the North Darfur capital and that everyone thinks this is just post-rainy season malaria. But I strongly suspect it is something else—that the Government is still not willing to admit the serious nature of the outbreak of Covid-19 in peripheral regions of Sudan.
For December, services and distributions will be as follows:
- 1,200 bars of sanitation soap for elderly.
- 104 small packages composed of: cotton for women, toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream and razors allocated for 52 victims of sexual who were identified during last month’s sessions.
- The number of women counseling girls and women who have been victims of sexual will be increased from 13 to 16 in total. In addition, there is now a male coordinator who helps the women and keeps protective eyes on them if there is any likelihood of male aggression or intimidation.
The new distributions will commence on Thursday morning (December 10).
All support for the Project is welcome!
100% of all proceeds from all sales of woodturnings support the work of Team Zamzam
(Photos of Team Zamzam)
(Videos available upon request)