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G6 S U P P L E M E N T T O T H E W I N N I P E G F R E E P R E S S | S A T U R D A Y , J U N E 2 7 , 2 0 2 0 INSURANCE RESTORATION l 204.942.6121 l 24/7 Emergency Services for over 60 years NEW CONSTRUCTION & INSURANCE RESTORATION l 204.942.6121 l 24/7 Emergency Services for over 60 years NEW CONSTRUCTION & INSURANCE RESTORATION 204.942.6121 l 24/7 Emergency Services years NEW CONSTRUCTION INSURANCE RESTORATION l 204.942.6121 l 24/7 Emergency Services for over 60 years NEW CONSTRUCTION & TRUSTED QUALITY for over 60 years 204.255.1000 204.257.7214 P E F ENTERPRISES LTD. 95 SYMINGTON LANE • WINNIPEG, MB Proud to Support the important work of the Mennonite Central Committee Commercial & Residential Excavating & Hauling I n 2011, Chubaka Birhonoka, his wife Nsimire Mugoli and their children fled their home in Masisi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), to escape armed groups that attacked the village, assaulted women and killed people, including some of Mugoli's brothers and sisters. After nine years of living in a refugee camp, Birhonoka and Mugoli have almost nothing — except nine children, ages eight months to 15 years, who they are trying to shepherd into a better life than they have known. "The war affected me so much," Mugoli says. "I left many important things to save the life of my children. Some actually lost their children during the wartime." In Masisi, Birhonoka and Mugoli owned their own house and could support their growing family from their land. Now the family of 11 crowds into two rounded thatch huts at Mubimbi Camp. The camp is home to some 300 displaced families, all with their own stories of being terrorized by one or more of the 100 armed groups battling for land, resources, power and money in eastern DR Congo. Without money for housing or help from extended family, the whole family is vulnerable to harm. This reality has become even more pronounced amid the health and economic threats of the pandemic. COVID-19 is an all-encompassing humanitarian emergency that's devastating economies, tearing apart communities and destabilizing governments. Families already struggling to meet basic needs for food and health care are most at risk in difficult economic times. They have few safety nets left. 100 years of responding to people in crisis One hundred years ago, MCC was formed in a time of crisis. In 1920, MCC gathered food, clothing and money to send to families affected by war and famine in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine). Today, with the support of compassionate donors and supporters, MCC continues to live up to this 100-year legacy by responding to the needs of vulnerable people during this unprecedented time in world history. Much of the work that MCC does around the world with vulnerable populations is critical and becomes more urgent in a pandemic like COVID-19, says Paul Shetler Fast, MCC's global health coordinator. Necessary precautions like frequent handwashing and remaining distant from others are difficult in the crowded and makeshift conditions of refugee camps. To mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, MCC is providing hygiene and health supports like mobile health clinics, in addition to ensuring families have continued access to food assistance. Food distributions and agricultural work remain critical, says Shetler Fast. "As Canadians realized the fragility of our supply chains at the peak of the current pandemic, our food security and malnutrition partners around the world are trying to ensure that the most vulnerable families can access the basic nutrition their bodies need to fight off a new pathogen." Before the pandemic, MCC provided families like Birhonoka's with the resources to grow their own food on fields rented through MCC's account with Canadian Foodgrains Bank and a local church partnership in DR Congo. Families were also supplied with necessary equipment and seeds to plant beans and corn. Those living in Mubimbi Camp will continue to need emergency food distributions to supplement the crops they can grow in fields in order to stave off disease. Refugees in these camps need the nutrition, Shetler Fast says, because "people who are malnourished have weakened immune systems and are particularly at risk for COVID-19." Ongoing donations to prevent disease and provide food assistance in DR Congo are needed as MCC supports those affected by the pandemic. In addition to emergency food, MCC seeks to address the educational needs of displaced children and provide its partners with training in trauma healing and humanitarian practice. Donations will support MCC's work where needed most, helping to ensure crucial food and health programs continue operating for people who need them, including providing locally purchased personal protective equipment, basic hygiene supplies and sanitation products to people who are particularly vulnerable. To donate please visit or call 204-261-6381. To learn more about MCC's response in DR Congo, please visit Reaching out in Manitoba During the pandemic, MCC met local needs by walking alongside people in poverty, resettled refugees and people impacted by domestic abuse. Most recently, the Portage la Prairie MCC Thrift Shop worked with a coalition of local partners to establish an emergency soup kitchen. In Winnipeg, four MCC Thrift shops donated gently-used furniture for transitional housing units where youth experiencing homelessness could find shelter during the global pandemic. MCC also reached out to newcomer families to ensure they were supported while navigating COVID-19, which included providing more than 200 handmade masks sewn by faithful MCC volunteers. "It was important for us to connect with these families because we wanted them to know that we are feeling for them during COVID-19 and we are around to support them," said Maysoun Darweesh, MCC's migration and resettlement coordinator in Manitoba. "It was amazing to share the love of our volunteers with resettled refugees as a gesture of unity and to send an encouraging message that we are all together in this." To find out more please visit Pandemic causing crisis-within-crisis for the world's most vulnerable Leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 820 million people went to bed hungry, and this includes 110 million people who are living in what's known as extreme food poverty. Many developing countries face a double crisis - hunger and COVID-19. Where possible, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is scaling up its work to support those with limited access to food and health care. 1-204-326-2532 Serving Steinbach and Southern Manitoba (Above) Chubaka Birhonoka carries his 8-month-old son Nahuma Birhonoka after working in the family fields planting corn and beans. Birhonoka and his family fled their home due to fighting between armed groups and now live in an internally displaced persons camp in DR Congo. (MCC photo/Matthew Lester) (Above inset) A day after receiving seeds through an MCC food distribution, Nsimire Mugoli (with 8-month-old Nahuma Birhonoka) and her husband Chubaka Birhonoka prepare their fields for planting, using conservation agriculture techniques and tools provided through an MCC- supported project. (MCC photo/Matthew Lester)

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