In Ethiopia, WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) programming brings sustainable physical and spiritual aid to South Sudanese refugees who fled violence in their home country. It also provides an opportunity for former South Sudanese refugees to volunteer and serve their friends, family, and fellow neighbors still living in the refugee camps and settlements. The shared experiences of both the volunteers and those being served allows for emotional healing to take place. The training provided by the visiting volunteers to the local health educators brings physical healing and illness prevention to those living in the refugee camps and settlements. And the devotions and prayers encourage spiritual healing and perseverance for all those who listen.
32 local health educator volunteers completed WASH training.
2,300+ people served
Six individuals represent the needs of the 6 geographic zones in refugee camps and settlements.
The WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) program connects former South Sudanese refugees with volunteer opportunities to serve current refugees still living in camps and settlements. Volunteers are trained in WASH and how to share their faith with others. When they arrive to volunteer, they provide local volunteers with the skills they need to care for the ongoing health and spiritual wellbeing of fellow community members. The shared experiences, language, and culture among visiting and local volunteers create opportunities for meaningful emotional and spiritual encouragement.
Health issues related to unclean water and unsanitary conditions are a frequent occurrence in the refugee camps and settlements. WASH training provides local volunteers, known as health educators, with knowledge related to clean water and best practices for sanitation and hygiene. Local volunteers use the knowledge they receive to bless and benefit fellow refugees. These interactions create opportunities to share the message of the gospel. In 2019, additional workshops on women's health and menstruation were also provided to educate women and girls in the refugee camp on menstrual health, and how to care for the bodies that God has given them.
In 2019 the first "local lead team" was created to further support the stability and local ownership of the program. Six individuals were chosen by their peers to oversee the health needs of the six geographical zones in the refugee camps and settlements currently being served by the local health educators.
For the volunteers who serve with the WASH program, the experience is about so much more than providing training to local volunteer health educators. It's about emotional, mental, and spiritual healing for both the visiting and local volunteers. For Sarah, herself a former South Sudanese refugee, the volunteer experience helped her to heal wounds that had been formed nearly thirty years ago when she was torn from her family and her home by the Second Sudanese Civil War. But something even more powerful happened, the faith in her heart was restored. Read more about Sarah's story of faith here.