The coordinating counselor of Team Zamzam has provided a particularly informative and deeply compelling account of the current humanitarian crisis in North Darfur, with a focus on Zamzam camp for internally displaced persons. Altogether, reports from the UN and other sources indicate that some 2.5 million people are internally displaced in Darfur, with another 350,000 Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad. Displacement continues at a very high rate, a reflection of the increase in violence in Darfur over the past year. There has also been a significant increase in sexual violence.
The coordinating counselor provides in the ANNEXto this update a detailed account of the current situation from the perspective of North Darfur, as well as the continuing and extraordinary humanitarian efforts of Team Zamzam, both in providing critical assistance to traumatized victims of sexual violence as well as food and other assistance to the most vulnerable. A summary of the team’s activities in the month of March is summarized below.
The ANNEXconcludes with two profoundly moving testimonials from women helped by counseling and fistula surgical repair. While psycho-social counseling sessions continue with remarkable attendance and frequency, the project was able to provide only one fistula surgery this month because of funding limitations; there are more than 100 girls and women on the waiting list for this life-restoring surgery. The testimonial of an earlier beneficiary of such surgery (below) concludes this overview.
Achievements of Team Zamzam in March 2022
Distribution of basic necessities and the number of beneficiaries
Food package containing: 3 pounds of sugar, 2 kilos of pasta, 2 kilos of flour, 1 liter of cooking oil and 5 tea bags were distributed per family:
A total of 117 families benefited
A total of 623 persons benefited
Distribution of feminine hygiene kits
18 small hygiene kits were distributed to girls and women, each containing: 2 tubes of toothpaste, 2 dozen shaving razors, 2 tubes of shaving cream,1 tube of body cream, 4 toothbrushes, and 1 package containing a dozen female menstruation cottons:
• Total: 18 girls and women benefited
160 bars of hand washing soap distributed to 40 families
Counseling sessions for victims of sexual violence:
Group counseling sessions: 44
Individual counseling session: 78
First time seeking counseling: 17
Returns for more than one session: 28
Returns for more than 2 sessions: 13
• Total: 122 counseling sessions
Total of 46 inspection visits in the four sections of Zamzam camp to check living conditions and the status of sick people
Total of 8 inspection visits carried out to inspect the tents of the recently displaced to check their living conditions
Total of 21 large group meetings held in 8 different locations to provide people with health advice, information, and awareness in the four sections of the camp Zamzam
Total of 18 pregnant women accompanied women to El Fasher Hospital for initial examinations and routine checks
Total of 1 fistula patient, 20 years old, accompanied by Team Zamzam counselors to the hospital in El Fasher for surgical treatment
Total of 6 families with handicapped children accompanied to the hospital in El Fasher
Again, full details on the work of Team Zamzam appear in theANNEX to this update.
Testimonial of fistula surgery patient (from late 2021):
Rouwida Muktar - - -, 23 years old:
"After a long, agonising wait—after almost two and a half years in pain—the end of last year I was happy to start my new life. My new life is free of pain, free of depression, free of long irritating nights, free of worries, more friends and plenty of happiness. Two weeks after the surgery, I felt as if I was given new life in paradise and from that moment onwards everything has changed for the better for me. Fistula had almost destroyed my entire life, but thank God but for me it's over now and I only pray for those who haven't had the chance to go through surgery. I wish them speedy recovery and I thank all those who helped me to get through this."
Urgent Funding Needs
The capacity of the Team Zamzam project is now constrained by a sharply reduced budget. In all of February, funding was available for only one patient in need of fistula surgery; the same has been true this month (March). The waiting list is 123 girls and women, 34 of them judged to be in “critical” condition by the now highly experienced group of those on Team Zamzam most responsible for fistula care. Ideally, we would be able to fund at least three or four fistula surgeries per month. More food and sanitizing supplies are also urgently needed.
How to Help
Any assistance will be greatly appreciated by Team Zamzam, and by the girls and women whose suffering they seek to alleviate.
Those wishing to assist in funding the work of Team Zamzam may send a check directly to Eric (Eric Reeves, 31 Franklin St., Northampton, MA 01060) or purchase one of his woodturnings: https://www.ericreeves-woodturner.com/gallery
100% of the purchase price of every woodturning directly supports the project in Zamzam.
While not tax-deductible, a contribution should be made with the knowledge that our project operates with truly extraordinary efficiency, in ways matched by no humanitarian organization operating in Darfur that I am aware of, a region I have been researching for two decades. There is absolutely no overhead for this project.