Hundreds of families on the brink of famine in South Sudan will be receiving emergency support thanks to a grant of £35,000 from the Freemasons to Plan International UK.
Freemasonry, through the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), is responding with Plan International to support communities at this critical time. £35,000 is enough to provide cooking kits to 525 families. Plan International is on the ground in Pibor, one of the worst affected regions, delivering vital programmes for nutrition, education, livelihoods, and child protection.
The UN has described South Sudan’s food crisis as its “worst on record”, with children and communities facing multiple threats at once. Late last year, heavy flooding affected over a million people in the country, destroying homes, devastating livelihoods and displacing thousands of children and their families. On top of this communities are still reeling from the pandemic, as well as political upheavals, escalating conflict and a stagnating economy.
With the country in the middle of its ‘lean season’ – the time between harvests when households run out of stored food – there is now a critical window to prevent the onset of famine. Lasting from March until August, the lean season will see 7.2 million, or 60 per cent of the population, pushed into extreme hunger. 1.4 million children under the age of five and almost 500,000 pregnant and lactating women are expected to be left severely malnourished. It is crucial that aid reaches these communities before the floods come again, further hindering access to support for some of the world’s most vulnerable children.
The South Wales Freemasons contributed to the grant, from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Rose Caldwell, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said: “We’re very grateful for this generous grant which will allow Plan International to reach families and young children in those parts of South Sudan most badly hit by the food crisis. It’s critical that we act now to distribute food and other vital support to those most at risk”
Provincial Grand Master of the South Wales Freemasons, Gareth Jones OBE, said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Plan International, who are distributing food to the most vulnerable families and children in South Sudan. This is a desperate situation and Plan International and the other organisations helping on the ground need all the help and support we can offer.”
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Notes to Editors
The attached photo shows a woman in South Sudan receiving rations of maize to feed her family
For further information about the Masonic Charitable Foundation, please contact Guy Roberts, Press Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org |0203 146 3311)
About the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief. In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Freemasons and their families with a financial, health or family need. Visit www.mcf.org.uk
About Plan International UK
Plan International UK is an independent development and humanitarian charity that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.
We believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it is girls who are most affected.
Working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners, we strive for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children.
We support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood. And we enable children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge.
We have been building powerful partnerships for children for 80 years, and are now active in more than 70 countries.