Column CEO: A drop in the ocean

Written by: Agnes Kroese, CEO of Dorcas

Surrounded by children, I walk alongside the chief, the local leader of the village. I am back in South Sudan once again. The land I’ve come to call my ‘second home’. From 2019 to 2022, I served as Country Director for Dorcas here. South Sudan ranks high on lists where you don’t want your country to be at the top. The majority of the population depends on assistance and struggles daily to survive. Despite the challenging conditions, I have never regretted my decision to live and work in South Sudan for a few years. The country and its people have touched me in a way that cannot be put into words. And it feels special to be back here.

What do you share when you have nothing?

The chief and I walk towards the centre of the village. A large number of people have gathered under a big tree. They are mostly women and children. Years ago, these people left their homeland, South Sudan, seeking refuge in Sudan. They had just managed to build some semblance of a life when the conflict broke out in Sudan. Desperate, they saw only one way out: back to South Sudan. Back to this village where, as best they can, they find shelter with family. Family who want to be hospitable. But what can you share when you have nothing yourself?

Limited resources

Dorcas, along with ZOA, has initiated a project to support the returning refugees and their host families. We do what we can, but our resources are also limited. And when I see the large group of refugees there under that tree, I feel overwhelmed for a moment. Almost powerless. It’s heart-wrenching to see. What have these people already been through? And what lies ahead for them?

This is the reality of the work of organisations like Dorcas. The number of crises worldwide is rising, and with it, the number of people in need. However, we can only spend each euro once and sometimes have to make very difficult choices. It’s almost discouraging.

Giving up is not an option

But I cannot, I will not, accept the fact that so many people worldwide suffer from injustice and an unfair distribution of resources. We can indeed do something. Even if it’s just a drop in the ocean. You may wonder what the effect is. And indeed, sometimes you hardly see it reflected in the statistics. But I see the people behind the statistics. The people touched by such a drop. Also in South Sudan. The young man in a wheelchair receiving his vocational training certificate with a radiant smile. The mother proudly showing me her goods at the market and telling me that her children can go to school thanks to the income she generates. The group of villagers walking proudly across the newly built dike; when the next rains come, they will be safe from the water.

A sea of peace and justice

So, it may sometimes seem like a small drop, but all the small drops together form a stream. And many streams can grow into a wide river. Into a sea of peace and justice. Is this a utopia? An illusion? Perhaps, but still, I choose to believe in it. Because every drop counts.

Agnes Kroes is CEO of Dorcas. Agnes:”I contribute with great dedication to our mission in creating opportunities for people and communities to flourish. One of the ways I do this is through a monthly column in Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad. In this column, I share insights from my professional experience at Dorcas. My aim is to inspire, inform and encourage readers to engage with Dorcas’ initiatives, campaigns, and projects.

15 April 2024

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