Mission Partner focus for July 2020 – click here
The Brickworks is a charity that works alongside the church in the very needy nation of South Sudan, helping people to rebuild their lives after years of civil war.
The challenges faced by the people of South Sudan are huge. They have had many years of little investment and still have some of the worst health statistics in the world. There’s very high maternal mortality, few homes have access to clean water or a latrine and many children die before their fifth birthday. UNICEF announced in 2016 that more teenage girls die in childbirth than finish secondary school.
The Brickworks supports the local church in discipleship, running a very busy health clinic, improving schools and training teachers and medics.
Last year, The Brickworks funded the reopening of the Yei eye clinic thanks to St Michael’s.
This man was unable to walk without being led by a relative. After cataract surgery he now drives his own motorbike again! And he’s one of 130 cataract patients who can now see.
One and a half million South Sudanese people are currently refugees. They fled local violence to live in camps in Uganda.
The Brickworks trains church youth leaders and funds open air schools in the camps.
The Brickworks charity was created in 2009 and it has already built and equipped a children’s ward and an eye clinic, constructed new school classrooms (pictured above) and a workshop for a diocesan vocational training college. The Brickworks has helped churches build new structures and invested in church leadership training. It has funded training programmes for women and initiated camps and discipleship training for church youth. It has repaired boreholes, built latrines and supplied school desks and teaching materials.
Student sponsorship has been a large part of The Brickworks mission, giving scholarships to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
Chandiga is studying for a public health degree in Kampala and plans to return to Yei, South Sudan to work in preventative health.
Charles (above) returned from a refugee camp in Congo in 2006. He had completed his A levels and was seeking further education and a place to live. Soon, an opportunity arose to train some health workers for a new diocesan clinic. Charles was selected, and he went for general health training in Kampala. He found that he enjoyed administration and so, a year later with a scholarship from The Brickworks, he enrolled for a degree in health management. He graduated in 2012 and, since then, he has been the manager of the diocesan clinic in Yei. He is also the lead youth worker for Yei cathedral.
The Clinic is very busy and the COVID situation brought even greater challenges. The Brickworks supplied some PPE until the government provided a regular supply.
Fleeing for their lives
Unfortunately, five years after independence, the city of Yei was attacked by soldiers and over half the population fled to northern Uganda. Over a million South Sudanese now live in refugee camps in Uganda, having left everything behind. The diocesan schools and clinic remain open but with low numbers they need financial support. The Brickworks supports the diocese and, since 2017, has also helped those who are in refugee camps.
The Brickworks now funds four under tree schools in the camps, catering for over 4000 primary school children living as refugees in Uganda. Charles the clinic manager mentioned above started his education too in an under tree school in a refugee camp as did several bishops who partner with The Brickworks.
St Michael’s pre-school / nursery, St Michael’s Primary School and Wallscourt Farm Academy, Cheswick are each linked to one of the schools. In 2019, the Deputy Head Teacher from Wallscourt Farm Academy visited their link school and Megan Clews from St Michael’s Church also visited two of the under tree schools.
Thanks to these links and to other donors, The Brickworks has been able to fund the construction of temporary shelters to serve as classrooms, to provide benches for the children to sit on, and to provide some sports equipment.
St Michael’s Church has given much needed support to The Brickworks over the last few years. A regular monthly donation has been put towards the provision of a discipleship training course for 100 youth leaders living in refugee camps. In 2019, St Michael’s gave a substantial financial gift that enabled the Eye Clinic in Yei to re-open and which has paid all the staff salaries for a 2 year period. St Michael’s has also provided emergency funding to enable the church to buy food for families displaced by fighting and insecurity and a separate grant to pay for the printing of 500 new service books that will be used by pastors and laity throughout South Sudan.
About The Brickworks
The Brickworks is based in Bristol and has no paid staff. It is run by John and Poppy Spens (who are members of St Michael’s Church) and a Board of Trustees. John and Poppy try to visit South Sudan and Uganda once or twice a year to check on progress and to understand the current needs and priorities. In doing this they meet all their own expenses so that everything given to The Brickworks can be put to work on these varied church projects.
Please pray for peace to return to South Sudan to enable the 1.3 million refugees in Uganda to return home.
Please pray for the nursery and primary schools in the refugee camps that, though the facilities may be few, the teaching would be of good quality to give the children a decent education.
Pray for the response of the nation of South Sudan to the COVID crisis as its health facilities could not cope with high numbers of seriously ill patients. Pray for the staff at the Martha Clinic which may be the first port of call for anyone in Yei with COVID symptoms.
Pray for the churches (like the one above) that seek to bring help and trauma healing to refugees.
Pray for those who remained behind in South Sudan to run schools and health centres, facing hunger and danger.
Read the update leaflet here
view the powerpoint here
In October, John and Poppy travelled to Uganda on behalf of The Brickworks to visit the under tree schools again. This time they took with them a large box of children’s reading books which had been donated by St Michael’s CE Primary School, Stoke Gifford. They made a short film of the presentation of the books to the Good Samaritan Primary School in a refugee camp and there was great thankfulness and rejoicing for this gift and for the link to St Michael’s Primary School.
Read the Information Sheet
View the PowerPoint