Megan McGrath has worked at World Vision for 8 years and is currently part of the Innovative Partnerships team.
Earlier this year, Megan worked with World Vision North Sudan in Darfur.
Since 2003 the conflict in Darfur, has displaced approximately 1.8 million people. Megan visited an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, which houses about 70,000 people. Within the camp, she found the World Vision Child-Friendly Space, which comprised of classrooms, an open games area, sports and art activities and also caters for disabled children.
“We travelled through the camp which seemed crowded and depressing, but when we reached the Child Friendly Space everything changed. The moment I went inside I felt a joy, and a freedom. Children were playing volley ball and soccer, laughing and singing. It was like I had stepped into another world. Here, children were free to be children,” Megan said.
For Megan, whilst April and May 2010 were difficult for relief workers generally, with increased threat and uncertainty, she experienced great hope, by being part of what was happening and not observing it from the other side of the world.
When she was there, she wrote, “I have studied so much about Darfur and have given to relief funds when I was able, but I always wished that I could do something more to help… now here is my opportunity.”
“After this amazing experience, I realise that two worlds exist on our planet. There are two kinds of childhoods: the one I knew – running and playing freely with friends, going to school, living in safety; and another – marked with fear and tragedy. How do I put them together? It was awful to leave people behind and not know if they would be alright.”
Megan has no doubt that she will return to Africa one day.
“The things I’ve seen have changed my faith. As Christians, we can get caught up in debates like ‘Should women be elders?’ or ‘Is speaking in tongues of God?’, while ignoring the real issue of justice for the poor and marginalised.
“Like Amos 5:21-24 says, ‘I despise your religious feasts, I cannot stand your assemblies… Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream!'”
According to Megan, “Child Rescue funds connect with kids that can’t be reached through Child Sponsorship. They may not have a home, or be safely identified – there is no photo and sponsors can’t visit them. These kids have been abducted or trafficked, caught up in terrible conflicts and have had their childhoods stolen.”
For more information on Child Rescue visit worldvision.com.au/childrescue or call 13 32 48
Photo : Megan McGrath in local dress, with women at Darfur