The integrated Help and Opportunities for Peaceful Existence-iHOPE Inc.was born to come to the aid of the children of financially-disadvantaged families including Australian families, South Sudanese civil war orphans, widows and the disabled in need. It did not come like any normal initiative but as a result of grief. It was inconceivable that people who had fought for fifty years against what they believed were injustices committed against them would turn around and commit the same injustices against themselves. But memory is a terrible thing. One remembers some experiences while forgetting others. Some life experiences traumatise, whereas other life experiences light one up.
However the war experience in South Sudan makes each and everyone of us cry. My family and I and my friends were traumatised, devastated and crying when iHOPE Inc. was founded. We were looking for HOPE for the South Sudanese orphans, widows and disabled. For they have been hopeless since the beginning of time, since creation. They have always been homeless. They are the poorest of the poor. They continue to be born under trees, grow up under trees and die under trees. They have known only war. They are taught how to kill and the most beautiful thing in the world to them is a gun, because if you do not have a gun, you cannot survive the terror of the machine gun.
I was like them. I was taken away from my parents at the age of nine. I slept, ate and studied under trees in Ethiopia. But I survived the horrors of the jungle, not because I had a gun to protect myself, but because some people like you, some compassionate friends like you, came to my help. I was clothed, fed, treated and educated by the UNHCR and by my best friend Doris Lempenauer who is currently in Germany. Thank you, Doris. I am a testimony to your generosity and kindness. I am also a testimony to Australia’s generosity and compassion. Thank you, Australia. I exist because of the friendships I have made over the years and I have not stopped making them.
So I ask you to remember the South Sudan orphans and Widows. They continue to struggle to survive and are desperate for peace, but all to no avail. Please join hands with us to restore HOPE to the South Sudanese people so that they have a reason to smile again. We need you; the South Sudanese need your help. Thank you and may God bless you.