Dennis Schroeder of North Saanich, a member of Hanti Sidra One Global Family, checks onions grown by village women in South Sudan. The establishment of the garden plots was funded by Hanti Sidra. (Submitted)

Sidney branch of Hanti Sidra One Global Family to host fundraiser for famine efforts in South Sudan

A local non-profit organization is giving you a way to help people in South Sudan survive famine.

The Sidney branch of Hanti Sidra One Global Family, a non-profit organization committed to helping people in Africa for the past 25 years, is hosting its 13th annual fundraising concert. The Arbutus Singers, a six-part choir based in Victoria, will be performing on Wednesday, May 24 at St. Elizabeth’s Church, 10030 Third Street, Sidney. All of the proceeds from the event go directly to famine efforts in South Sudan.

The Food and Agriculture Organizaton of the United Nations has established a specific set of conditions to define a famine. First, over 20 per cent of people in an area must have extreme food shortages with limited ability to cope. Second, over 30 per cent of people must suffer from acute malnutrition. Third, the death rate from lack of food must be two persons (or four children under five) per day per 10,000 population. In February of this year, famine was declared in South Sudan.

“All the money goes to our work in South Sudan, there’s nothing deducted from that,” says Dennis Schroeder, a member of Hanti Sidra and who’s organizing the fundraiser along with his wife, Stephanie. “We direct it towards some of the programs we have there to increase the production of food and distribution of food within the country.”

Schroeder started going to South Sudan in 2009, the same amount of time he’s been with the charity organization. Hanti Sidra supports a South Sudanese partner, Pan Aweil Development Agency (PADA), which is headed by a South Sudanese- Canadian dual citizen. PADA is too small to solve all the country’s food problems, so Hanti Sidra supplements it.

“We want to get away from the airdrops of food throughout the country because in the long run we want people to be self reliant. The land is rich and well watered, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t be. The problem is all the fighting that’s going on there. Aside from drought, humans are always at fault for famine and that’s what’s going on in South Sudan,” Schroeder says.

Members of Hanti Sidra have built three schools and a clinic in South Sudan, as well as established a women’s agricultural program and sports programs for youth. They have also distributed water filters in homes because Schroeder says the water is plentiful there, but it isn’t clean. They also have provided wells.

Since the non-profit organization was established it has raised over $72,000 through similar fundraising events.

Typically the fundraising event draws around 150 people, but Schroeder says he would like to see a lot more people and fill the venue, which can hold double that. People can also make donations at the event and receive a tax receipt.

Tickets are $10 per person or $25 per family. Tickets are available at the door or in advance by calling 250-655-3635 or emailing hantisidra@gmail.com. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m.

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