A SPICMA message

50 Years of Helping the Missionary Church and the People of the Developing World

Back in 1967 a young man from North London named Bernard Phelan was ordained a Mill Hill Missionary priest. Those who knew him – family, friends and parishioners – decided to raise money to send to him out in Uganda, his first posting. No one could have known that this small and resourceful group would evolve into SPICMA, providing help and hope to tens of thousands of people across much of the developing world. Today, in addition to providing emergency aid, SPICMA finances dozens of projects every year. It also assists the Church in the construction and improvement of facilities in poor parishes which would have no means of raising the sums required locally.

What makes SPICMA different? SPICMA works through the structure of the Church. Everyone is a volunteer. No salaries are paid to anyone and, to keep costs as low as possible, all work is done out of the homes of volunteers.

SPICMA can act quickly. Being small can be a useful thing. When there is a disaster, whether localised or on a large scale, SPICMA is often able to respond before the larger charities like the famine in Karamoja currently.

If you would like to join us please contact Spicma P.O. Box 299, Cirencester, GL7 9FP Tel: 0300 3020016

www.spicma.org

Famine - Xavier appeal

The shadow of famine has returned to Karamoja, Uganda. Fr Mitema MHM has asked for your help in feeding the people of his parish of Loyoro and the neighbouring parish of Panyangara.

For more details and how to donate click here.

SPICMA update and appeal

Click here for the latest SPICMA Pakistan and Uganda update and appeals.

Karamoja Drought

Again Karamoja is once again facing a dry spell at a very critical time. The people were very glad to welcome the rains at the beginning of April. People went out to cultivate. The crops were growing very well. Unfortunately, since mid May there has not been any rain.

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The rain cut short many people who were still cultivating. The crops that had been planted at the beginning of rains had grown up and some had now started flowering but unfortunately because of the heat they are now withering and dying.

What is happening in Karamoja now is a major disaster. We are facing a second year of total crop failure. The maize that were planted have now died. The sorghum which is normally much more resistant are also now starting to die. With sorghum crop gone, the situation for the farmers is dire. Farming here is subsistence farming. What they get primarily for local consumption with little or no surplus for trade. Moreover it is not just the loss of crop that we are talking about, farmers invested their money, time and energy in the farms all that is now gone.

With the crops gone, there is no food and no money. The desperate situation that we thought was soon passing is now with us again. Very soon there will be no vegetables which have supplemented the little food that people had. The people are becoming restless. Thievery and violence are becoming common. Worst of all we are also experiencing a wave of suicide. Within Panyangara Parish alone there has been six suicides since March this year.

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Meanwhile the situation of the old people, the sick and the children is increasingly becoming bad. Even among those that are getting support from us things are not easy. The little support they get they have to share it with the larger family members. As a result some of those who are sickly have died. it is even worst with those who are HIV positive since they cannot take drugs without eating any solid food

However, there is still some glimpse of hope. There are still some dark clouds gathering. If the rains were to come back soon, some crops could still survive. In which case the harvest will be poor but at least there will be something. In the month of May and part of June, Caritas Kotido distributed some food in parts of Kotido town area. The World Food Programme with their partners are also continuing with their normal distribution. Sadly they have not scaled it up.

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SPICMA 201604 06 On our part we were once again very pleased to receive the donation of £30,000.00 which came in June. It has helped us to serve the people well this month. As usual we are gating very huge numbers of desperate people but we do our best to serve as much as we can. We are very grateful to SPICMA and the donors for all your support. Thank you Your help is saving lives here in Karamoja.
   

Fr. Sylvester Odhiambo
Mill Hill Missionary

 

Famine Situation in Karamoja

In the last few days we have been blessed by rain and we hope that this is the beginning of rainy season which will eventually bring food. However, at the moment the hunger situation on the ground is very unbearable.

The draught went on for far too long. The people were already becoming restless due to the prolonged draught and the unusual hot temperatures. The elders offered several sacrifices for the rains therefore the coming of rain is a big relief.

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Coping mechanism

The coming of the rain is a blessing and we hope and pray that it will continue. In the short term the rain is going to help with coping mechanism and in the long run we hope that it will solve the problem of hunger. In the short term there going to be plenty of wild vegetables and fruits which will go a long way in supplementing the food. With the rain also a lot of people will be hired as casual labourers in the farms of those who are better off. As casual labourers they will earn one meal per day. The sale of charcoal and firewood will also go up. Therefore those who are in good health should be able to cope with the hunger.

Challenges

Unfortunately, the current household coping mechanisms are not sustainable. In the short term they will provide the most needed relief but in the long term it will keep majority of productive people in the cycle of food insecurity. Those who are hired as casual labourer in other people’s farms will not cultivate their own farms. Those who resort to sell firewood and charcoal too will have no time to cultivate their farms. Unfortunately the coming of rain also does come with high vulnerability to diseases. The possibilities of outbreak of disease like Cholera during rainy season are high. This is due to poor hygiene and poor nutrition. Therefore there is still need for external aid to help people bounce back to normal livelihoods.

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The beneficiaries of our food aid are people whose situation is dire.

They are mostly old men and women, HIV/AIDS positive people, malnourished people and extremely poor households. As much as the coming of rain is a relief, these people will still need support. All along these people have been forced to share the food they receive with their relatives. In fact, for some, we had to resort to giving them their ratio daily just to make sure that they have something to eat. Otherwise their relatives would eat all their food in just few days.

We are also helping some who are extremely malnourished to receive medical care and taking care of some orphans whose parents died due to dieses and hunger.

The last grant of £10,000 (47,107,158/= UGX) arrived in our account on 22nd of March 2016 and it is not yet used. This money will be able to help us in this current month. We would appreciate if we could continue up to July.

It is our hope that by July the situation would have started to change for the better. Ideally by that time the beans should be ready and by August the sorghum should be ready.

On behalf of the beneficiaries I say thanks to SPICMA and to all the donors. Your donation has helped to save lives. The situation is bad but with your help it has become bearable to some people who would be dead by now.

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Sylvester Odhiambo

Panyangara Catholic Parish