- Linda Abwa
The theme of my last blog was 'Staying with the global Church after the crisis is over'. Since I wrote it, the mask-sewing Mothers’ Union group in Maridi has been on my mind.
Over decades, this group’s relationship with individuals and parishes from their partner diocese in Ireland, Down and Dromore, has positioned them to make an immediate and innovative response to the Covid-19 crisis in South Sudan.
For many years, Maridi MU has invested in training women in sewing skills. It is the perfect small scale training that can enable a woman to start a tailoring business to generate income for herself and her family. Over the years, CMSI's Marketplace has purchased some of the beautiful bags that the Maridi MU has sewn and has made them available at presentations and events.
In 2014 Jane Corbett, Nina Coffey, Maureen Clarke and Liz Flemming carried resources and training materials to Maridi and together they learned to make ‘Days For Girls’ packs. The MU have continued to make these sanitary products, empowering women and girls in Maridi.
Movilla Abbey and Seapatrick Parishes have supported Maridi MU with funds that have enabled them to keep sewing useful products. Just last year, St. Galls, Carnalea and Holywood Parish stood with their long-term partners in Maridi by raising and sending funds for intensive tailoring training of vulnerable women from the six Archdeaconries. Through their giving, their friendship and their prayers, many other individuals and parishes have played their part in this beautiful story of long-term partnership.
Down and Dromore Diocese along with Albany Diocese in USA, and the link parishes and dedicated individuals within them, have stayed with their partners in Maridi. Part of that has been to stand with MU and encourage the flourishing sewing and organisational skills of the women.
And so, now that Bethsaida Clinic staff need masks and vulnerable community members also want masks, the MU in Maridi has burst into activity making a practical and positive response!
This is one example of the trajectory of partnership – of staying: the bursting forth of a grassroots initiative, grounded in years of sharing and learning from the global Church.