Sudan (MNN) — On Friday, thousands lined the streets of Khartoum
and Omdurman demanding that the president step down as a result of the country's economic
They clashed with security, which fired tear gas into the crowds
in an escalating effort to clampdown on the turmoil.
The protests started June 16 at universities in the capital of
Khartoum and quickly spread to other cities across Sudan. Demonstrators are calling for an of end Omar
al-Bashir's nearly 23-year rule. They
say recent budget cuts and tax increases are draconian enough to call for his
Could this movement be the Arab Spring moving south? No one really knows if the protests will gather
the kind of momentum seen in last year's Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa
and the Middle East, but given the previous instability triggered by the
secession of South Sudan, it might tip the balance.
Meanwhile, Sudanese and South Sudanese delegations are looking to
resume talks this week after little progress over a buffer zone on the common
border. Kids Alive International
President Al Lackey says the situation remains tense because "the problem
in the North right now is that they (the government) withdrew all the personal
ID information from all the residents, and they (the residents) have to go back
and reapply. As they do that, they have to identify what religion they are.
Many of the Christians are fearful to do that at this time."
Sudan's history with Christians has been acrimonious, at best. The secession ramped up tensions, especially near
the border areas. Although serving
neither side exclusively, groups like Kids Alive International were caught in
the middle. Lackey explains, "Like many non-profits, we were in the
North and the South two or three years ago. A lot of our ministry has now moved
to the South, so we're trying to plant that, develop that."
That meant personnel overseeing both projects needed to be able to
cross the borders regularly. That's when
the problem emerged. "They're more or less trapped because they can't use
the airport. They may get out, but if they try to come back in, they could be
Hostilities mean travel is difficult and the additional chaos will
likely slow whatever paperwork needs to make its way through the government channels. Prayer goes a long way. Lackey says, "A lot of our focus in the
South is to rescue more orphans and to care for the people that are moving in
around us. It continues to grow daily." It won't be easy to do both, with the red tape disruption, but Lackey says
their team is committed fully. "Our
focus in the North is to maintain what we're doing and to be responsible to the
children that we have."
An estimated 10% of Sudan's children are orphans. Over
1.8 million of them are now living on the streets or in refugee camps. "We
bring children into small residential homes if they have no family, or if
they're living in an abusive situation. They live in small homes of eight to
ten kids, maybe up to 12, with house parents. And then, we educate those children
and care for them all the way up until they're young adults."
Lackey goes on to say that their work doesn't stop with the
rescue. "True hope is not just
giving them all the things they need to exist in life. It starts with the Lord
Jesus Christ, and then all those other pieces are the hope giving, and the
development, and the kingdom building that we desire for each of our
Protests, clashes, and chaos are creating a lot of disruption for
Kids Alive International. They're still
seeing new kids in need of rescue every day. It takes about $60 to really do the job right, and funding is what
limits their growth the most.
Kids keep turning up in desperate need. Lackey
says money helps, but prayer support has fallen off, too. "When Sudan was in
the news, everybody was praying, churches were praying. But now that it has
lost number one focus, people forget that there are still people in
persecution, that people trapped in the North, and there's a huge
exodus of people coming to the South."
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