When Sister Emmanuelle discovers Khartoum in 1986, after 15 years in the slums of Cairo, she is horror-struck: many children from the South, especially boys, had fled from the war and famine ravaging that part of the country to seek refuge in the North where they hoped to join a possible relative.
But very often, all they found was ostracism and poverty. To survive in the streets, they used to form gangs, begging, stealing, prostituting themselves and taking drugs to forget their loneliness, the pangs of hunger and ill-health.
Sister Emmanuelle then gave witness to us: "The poverty of my slums in Cairo is nothing compared to that of these children. Our first priority must be to save these children without families!"
Our activities in Sudan stem from Sister Emmanuelle's first meeting with the street children there.
Since that time our programs have continued to increase in number and develop in importance thanks to our donors to whom Sister Emmanuelle delivered this messages, 15 years after her first trip to Khartoum:
I should like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the continuing support you provide to our Association: to help save tens of thousands of children from the throes of the prolonged and bitter civil war in Sudan.
Thanks to your donations these children have the possibility of receiving food and education and of learning a trade which will enable them to become independent and to lead a dignified life as “men standing upright”. Some of them have even pursued their studies to gain access to university. Who could have imagined such a successful outcome for these street children? It is all due to you, and you can be proud of it.
Sudan, the largest country on the African continent, has being going through the bleakest years of its history. However, presently there is a glimmer of hope: peace negotiations. All these young people that you have helped could one day take their place in society and contribute to the development and well being of their people.
Dear benefactors, don’t stop caring about these unfortunate people. Perhaps we are on the verge of reaping the fruits of all our efforts, with your help and with the help of God.
With much love, I keep you in my heart and prayers."