Uganda truce and resettlement issues provide backdrop for possible ministry growth.

By November 6, 2006

Uganda (MNN)–Uganda’s government wants all Internally Displaced Persons camps in the north to be closed by December 31. This comes as rebels signed a truce last week to spur peace talks.

It’s a hopeful step towards peace as the deal guarantees the rebels’ security at two remote locations in southern Sudan while talks to try to resolve two decades of fighting.

Meanwhile, because of sporadic fighting, refugees have been reluctant to return home. The government office in charge of relief and disaster preparedness says the longer the people stay in the camps the more suffering they endure.

To reassure them, the government says they have enough resources to distribute to the people as they resettle into their homes.

Every Child Ministries’ John Rouster says now is a good time for them to branch out. He arrives in Uganda today for a feasibility study.

“We’ve been invited by Action International,” he explains, “to come and see if Every Child Ministries can develop some children’s programs in the neediest IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps.”

The reason for the request is that NGOs have noted that “…the children are virtually having no teaching. There’s been two generations now where there’s been virtually no schooling of the children.”

In the wake of a post-conflict Uganda, there will be a gap in education, which could mean a long stretch of poverty-related issues down the road.

That means it’s a strategic place for their work, because: “We try to minister to both the social needs and also to the Gospel needs of the people, whether they be children or adults. We’ve had many adults accept Christ. It (the program) will be aimed at children, but, you know the Lord, He speaks to people’s hearts in different ways.”

If ECM moves forward with a program, they’ll aim to have it in place and running before the end of 2007. Go to Every Child Ministries’ website for more information on ECM’s programs.

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