April 30, 2013

Pediatric hospital in Port Sudan serves the very poor

An Italian NGO has built an 18 bed pediatric hsopital outside Suakin to serve the children of very poor Sudanese, including local Beja.

 There are three outpatient clinics, hospitalisation and sub-intensive care wards, a dispensary, service areas and professional staff, modern equipment and spotlessly clean rooms. As the first free pediatric clinic in Africa, the hospital has been a lifeline for some of the continent’s most underprivileged mothers and their children. Many of the patients here are recent arrivals to a nearby refugee camp. The clinic they use is as good as any that can be found elsewhere in the continent and at the very least offers their children a better chance of life.
Raul Pantaleo, the architect and one of the board members of Emergency and partner in Tamassociati, explains: ‘During the war, a lot of refugees moved to Port Sudan so right now the city is in the middle of nowhere and rapidly expanding. The clinic is based in a huge area of poor people and it’s the only medical facility for children available to them.’ He explains that the clinic, like others built by Emergency, are designed to meet Italy’s own standards of construction and medical requirements, which ensures world class treatment for all its users.

The hospital design includes a garden. The architect says, ‘Gardens are not a marginal part of our designs, they are somehow the centre of our projects. We want in two years for there to be a real garden and real trees. What makes the building friendly is the garden; it’s somewhere that makes them feel comfortable. They can sit down and the kids love to walk on the grass. It’s like a playground for them.’ It is not just children who take advantage of the space: ‘It has become something of a meeting point for the whole community as it’s the only place where there are shadows and water in the daytime and light in the nighttime.’
Port Sudan Pediatric Centre occupies an area close to the ancient city of Suakin and its aesthetics found their way into many visual aspects of the structure. ‘It was completely built with coral stone. Nowadays, everyone in Port Sudan is using concrete bricks but before building we decided to use traditional coral stone and brick for the façade,’ says the architect.

To counter the climatic extremities of Sudan, Pantaleo turned to traditional ways of cooling and as with all Emergency projects, local advice and skills were central to the successful outcome of the project. ‘There are fantastic people in Port Sudan called the Beja, who are desert people and are one of the biggest populations in the region,’ he says. ‘We had technicians come in for the building who worked there permanently with local people. We only used a special technician for finishing, like tiles, but all the rest was built by the local community.’

 ‘Our buildings are quite simple, but they are still very rooted in their traditions. When it was unveiled the people couldn’t believe there was such a clean and efficient hospital for free, just for them. It was a sort of miracle and a wonderful feeling because they perceived that we really do take care of them. It is a matter of respect,’ he says. To ensure that Port Sudan’s population has some sense of ownership towards the building, Emergency has trained local staff so that the clinic remains a Sudanese enterprise. ‘Apart from a pediatrician and a nurse, the rest are all Sudanese. We want to keep a high standard to the clinic. We don’t just build a hospital and then move away.’

See more pictures and read the full article. 

April 28, 2013

Another minority group oppressed by government

Officials in the Sudan, the almost completely Muslim remainder of the nation from which a Christian and tribal South Sudan broke away from recently, say they won’t be issuing any more new licenses for church buildings.

They explain that what with the “arrests, detentions and deportations” of Christians, some of the existing buildings already are empty.

The announcement came just recently from Al-Fatih Taj El-sir, the minister of guidance and endowments for the nation of Sudan. It was documented in a report from Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

“The minister explained this decision by claiming that no new churches had been established since the secession of South Sudan in July 2011 due to a lack of worshipers and a growth in the number of abandoned church buildings. He added that there was therefore no need for new churches, but said that the freedom to worship is guaranteed in Sudan,” CSW said.

The ministry, however, explained that the announcement comes against a backdrop of a massive repression campaign against Christians in the portion of the old Sudan that now is almost entirely Islamist.

Just before the Sudanese announcement, CWS noted that Catholic priest Father Maurino and two expatriate missionaries were deported.

“The two missionaries, one from France and the other from Egypt, worked with children in Khartoum. According to Fr. Maurino, no reason was given for the deportations,” CSW reported.
But the goal isn’t hard to determine, with Maurino explaining that Christians are in trouble in Sudan since the government sought to Islamize the country and eliminate the Christian presence.

CSW’s own documentation gives evidence, since 2012, of “an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians and of those suspected of having links to them, particularly in Khartoum and Omodorum, Sudan’s largest cities. There has also been a systematic targeting of members of African ethnic groups, particularly the Nuba, lending apparent credence to the notion of the resurgence of an official agenda of Islamisation and Arabisation.

“The campaign of repression [has] continued into 2013, with foreign Christians being arrested and deported at short notice, and those from Sudan facing arrest, detention and questioning by the security services, as well as the confiscation of property such as mobile phones, identity cards and laptops. In addition to the arrests and deportations, local reports cite a media campaign warning against ‘Christianisation’,” CSW reported.

In February alone at least 55 Christians linked to the Evangelical Church in Khartoum were detained without charge, the report said.

Andrew Johnston, CSW’s advocacy director, said, “The recent spike in religious repression in Sudan is deeply worrying. The minister’s claims of guaranteeing freedom to worship are at odds with regular reports of Christians being harassed arrested and in some cases expelled from the country at short notice. We urge the Sudanese government to end its campaign of harassment against the Christian community and respect the right of all of its citizens to freedom of religion or belief, as outlined in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Sudan is a signatory.”

Sourced from World Net  News