Pope Francis to internally displaced people: "Women are key to transform South Sudan"
Pope Francis traveled to Freedom Hall, a multi-purpose hall in Juba where the Transitional National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan gathers. There, the Pope received several groups of internally displaced people.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Dr. Iain Greenshields, delivered the opening prayer.
We thank you for this space and ask that for all present, it might be a space of hope.
The UN refugee coordinator in South Sudan said that the country has two million internally displaced people and another two million have already left the country. This is the largest refugee crisis in Africa today.
Aid programs have fewer resources and this year, sponsors will have 1.7 billion dollars to assist almost 7 million people, which amounts to less than $250 each.
It is the women, the children, the elderly, the people with disabilities who suffer the most.
Several displaced people from three camps— Bentiu, Malakal and Juba—described the problems they faced: hunger and overcrowding. They thanked Pope Francis for coming to visit them despite his knee problems. The Pope responded with a word of hope.
There is an absolute need to avoid the marginalization of groups and the ghettoization of human beings.
The Pope also insisted on respecting and promoting South Sudanese women.
Mothers, and women in general, are the key to transforming the country. If they are given the right opportunities, through their resourcefulness and their attitude of cherishing life, they will have the ability to change the face of South Sudan.
Please protect, respect, value and honor every woman.
The groups showed their appreciation for the Pope's visit with a traditional dance.