South Sudan

Why Another Development Organisation?

Written by Steve Blacket on Friday, 06 November 2015. Posted in About Fulcrum Aid, Bangladesh, South Sudan

Why Another Development Organisation?

From memory, my first thought of establishing a new development organisation came to me on a beach in Bangladesh. Cox’s Bazar is said to be the world’s longest beach. It could also be the most crowded. It was November 2012 and I had just completed a very demanding six-month work assignment in South Sudan and was seeking some of the peace and tranquillity normally associated with a two week beach stay. But tranquillity wasn’t so easy to find. Each day I would try to escape the crowds and cameras by taking a long walk. If it really is the world’s longest beach, my emotionally fatigued mind felt in need of the world’s longest beach walk. Past the crowds and cameras and jet-skis and persistent micro-entrepreneurs, beyond the small fishing villages, until the only curious eyes were the cows resting on the beach. Then I would stop, take a long swim in the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal, and sit down with my books.

Images of South Sudan

Written by Steve Blacket on Wednesday, 12 August 2015. Posted in South Sudan

A resilient community

Images of South Sudan

Prior to my first visit to South Sudan in 2008, the perceptions I had formed were based primarily on what I had seen on the news and the stories told by my South Sudanese friends. I pictured a land devastated by war, disease, famine and poverty.

It goes without saying that this is a land that has seen too much suffering, but what struck me immediately was the vibrancy of the community, the generous hospitality, the sounds of laughter and singing, vibrant colours and the chatter of diverse languages. This is a land of numerous cultures, and tribal traditions passed down through the centuries.

Within days I was adopted as one of the community, provided a home, offered a wife and given a new name. It is humbling to be offered so much from people who have struggled to survive.

Inequality Hurts!

Written by William Mude on Wednesday, 08 July 2015. Posted in South Sudan

a personal glimpse of inequality in the health sector.

Inequality Hurts!

Inequality hurts so much. While inequality can take different dimensions, one of the areas where inequality hurts so much is in the health sector.

I recently spoke with a friend from my childhood who is based in South Sudan. Their child became very sick and there was no health centre or health workers who could treat his child. The sick child did not make it. A few days before that, I spoke to another childhood friend whose wife was in labour with their first child. But her labour had complications. His wife was in labour for 36 hours but there was nothing he could do. His wife and the child too did not make it.

It made me to think “If only they had health care facilities like we have here in Australia…” - but there was nowhere they could go for help. If they did not have extreme poverty and inequality, they would have survived these tragedies. The problem with inequality is that it suffocates and renders people vulnerable.

An Unexpected Opportunity

Written by Steve Blacket on Tuesday, 23 June 2015. Posted in South Sudan

Our first conversation about training nurses and midwives in Juba, South Sudan.

An Unexpected Opportunity

I had just returned to Juba, South Sudan, and was chatting with my friend James Abraham. “James, do you know what I’ve done? I’ve signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health in Aweil to provide a midwife training centre.”

At that stage there weren’t any qualified midwives for the whole state, and they reported that more than one in ten women were dying in childbirth. It was the most significant moment of my career.

I will never forget James’ reply. He said “Oh Steve, that’s good. But we really need a midwife school here too.” Then he started telling me the names of the women he knew who had died in childbirth in the few weeks I had been away.

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