Families on brink of famine in South Sudan receive emergency support funded by Cambridgeshire Freemasons

South Sudan Woman rations maize to ensure it can feed her entire household

Hundreds of families on the brink of famine in South Sudan will be receiving emergency support thanks to a grant of £35,000 from the Freemasons to Plan International UK.

Freemasonry, through the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), is responding with Plan International to support communities at this critical time. £35,000 is enough to provide cooking kits to 525 families. Plan International is on the ground in Pibor, one of the worst affected regions, delivering vital programmes for nutrition, education, livelihoods, and child protection.

The UN has described South Sudan’s food crisis as its “worst on record”, with children and communities facing multiple threats at once. Late last year, heavy flooding affected over a million people in the country, destroying homes, devastating livelihoods and displacing thousands of children and their families. On top of this communities are still reeling from the pandemic, as well as political upheavals, escalating conflict and a stagnating economy.

With the country in the middle of its ‘lean season’ - the time between harvests when households run out of stored food - there is now a critical window to prevent the onset of famine. Lasting from March until August, the lean season will see 7.2 million, or 60 per cent of the population, pushed into extreme hunger. 1.4 million children under the age of five and almost 500,000 pregnant and lactating women are expected to be left severely malnourished. It is crucial that aid reaches these communities before the floods come again, further hindering access to support for some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Cambridgeshire Freemasons contributed to the grant, from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Rose Caldwell, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said: “We’re very grateful for this generous grant which will allow Plan International to reach families and young children in those parts of South Sudan most badly hit by the food crisis. It’s critical that we act now to distribute food and other vital support to those most at risk”

David Cameron, Cambridgeshire Freemasons’ Provincial Grand Charity Steward said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Plan International, who are distributing food to the most vulnerable families and children in South Sudan. This is a desperate situation and Plan International and the other organisations helping on the ground need all the help and support we can offer.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The attached photo shows a woman in South Sudan receiving rations of maize to feed her family

About Cambridgeshire Freemasonry:
The Masonic Province of Cambridgeshire is relatively small, with Masonic Centres in Cambridge, Ely, Newmarket, March, Chatteris, Whittlesey and Wisbech. There are around 1500 Freemasons and 30 individual lodges. We pride ourselves on our friendliness and inclusivity, with members drawn from all walks of life and professional backgrounds. We welcome enquiries from anyone who is curious about our values and our history.
More information is available on our website and enquiries should be directed to our Provincial Office in Cambridge via https://www.cambridgeshirefreemasons.org.uk/ or to our Provincial Information Officer:
Jon Cooper This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07714 763427

About the Masonic Charitable Foundation:
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief. In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Freemasons and their families with a financial, health or family need. Visit www.mcf.org.uk For further information about the Masonic Charitable Foundation, please contact Guy Roberts, Press Officer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |0203 146 3311)

About Plan International UK:
Plan International UK is an independent development and humanitarian charity that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. We believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it is girls who are most affected. Working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners, we strive for a just world, tackling the root causes of the challenges facing girls and all vulnerable children. We support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood. And we enable children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge. We have been building powerful partnerships for children for 80 years and are now active in more than 70 countries.

About the United Grand Lodge of England:
The Premier Grand Lodge, which became the United Grand Lodge of England, was founded at the Goose and Gridiron Pub in London in 1717. It has 48 Provinces across the country and more than 7,000 Lodges, with students over the age of 18 able to join one of the 85 University Scheme Lodges. Freemasons use four important guiding principles to help define their path through life: integrity, friendship, respect and charity. One of the oldest social and charitable organisations in the world, Freemasonry’s roots lie in the traditions of the medieval stonemasons who built our cathedrals and castles. Membership is open to people from all backgrounds and the organisation’s aim is to empower members to be the best they can be – it’s about building character, supporting members as individuals and helping them make a positive contribution to society. Freemasonry is one of the largest charitable givers in the country, contributing more than £48m to deserving causes in 2018 alone. Freemasons do not only donate money – more than 18.5 million hours of volunteer work are undertaken by Freemasons every year.

Livia Ferreira, Public Relations Manager, United Grand Lodge of England
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7395 9208 | Mobile: +44 (0)7539 578699