Hope With South Sudan has become a key partner in an effort to establish a peace center in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, where nearly 130,000 South Sudanese have fled the conflict in their country.

In March we invited Bishop Mary to help support the efforts of Bishop Abraham Yel Nhial of the Aweil Diocese, which is working to bring peace and reconciliation to the region. One outcome of the first peace training was an idea by Michael Rambang, the brother of our own Angelina Rambang, to develop youth tournaments – soccer for boys and volleyball for girls – with teams from the various tribes in conflict. The UN and the Kenya police have endorsed this effort and will provide space and security for the matches.

St. John’s, Aptos provided a generous gift that was matched by a donation from the Merrill Hancock Foundation and the estate of Mary Koppel. The combined donations provided for a week-long training in peace and reconciliation of 17 South Sudanese university students from seven tribes studying in Nairobi. Joined by Bishop Abraham and Bishop John Gakket of the Diocese of Bentiu, the participants prepared themselves to go as teams to Kakuma, to select and train mix teams. Not only would they prepare youth to play the games together, but more importantly to help them become peacemakers and ambassadors in their communities. Funds are needed to underwrite the formation of the organizing committee in the refugee camp and then the actual tournaments later this year.

To help, visit www.hopewithsouthsudan and contact Fr. Jerry Drino at jdrino@hopewithsouthsudan.org. The group is also looking for contacts with the San Jose Earthquakes to invite them to sponsor matches.