Between 23 and 30 September 2005 the British Council organized an international seminar on 'Leadership in Civil Society and Promoting Transformation changes, which was held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Zeinab Mohammed Balandia, Director of Ru'ya Association (RA) and human rights activist was among the delegates who participated in this seminar and representing Sudan. The seminar was very useful as many topics were discussed concentrating particularly on the management skills, leadership and promoting transformation changes in civil society. The seminar was well attended and 21 representatives from different countries worldwide took part in this seminar. In addition the delegates were able to exchange information, views and experience.
When seminar was ended Zeinab decided to take the opportunity of her presence in United kingdom to meet some NGOs with the view to establish link with them and also brief them about the current humanitarian situation in the Nuba Mountains and the problems local civil sector are undergoing, given the fact that influx of the internal displaced Nuba are returning to their homeland. In fact, much help will be needed for repatriation, resettlement and rehabilitating of these people. In some areas there are some returnees who could find any help from neither the authority or international NGO and decided to return back to where they came from.
Zeinab also wanted to meet Nuba people residing in UK to brief them about the situation and exchange information with them as well as to establish a link and form partnership with Nuba Survival Foundation.
Indeed, she came to London and stayed more than a week and was able to meet senior staff at CAFOD and Christian Aid organisation the two leading British NGOs. Her meeting with both organisations was positive and fruitful. She was able to establish link with both organisations. She made an appeal to both organisations to support Ru'ya Association in the rehabilitation programme which is one of priorities of her organisation for rehabilitation and resettlement of the returned ID.
Nuba Vision seized the opportunity of the presence of Ru'ya Director in London and made the following short interview with her:
Nuba Vision: Could you introduce yourself and your organisation.
Zeinab: I'm Zeinab Balandia, Director of Ru'ya Association organisation founded by graduated Nuba women 4 years ago. It is a non-governmental women organisation and works with the aim to support and help disadvantage people and victims of war in the region. The organisation works to provide education to children and youth who missed out of education because of civil war. It works to empower women and build their capacity, to enable them to solve their own problems and stand for their civil rights. It provides information and support for peace building efforts and advocate for civil rights.
Nuba Vision: What is the purpose of your visit to Britain?
Zeinab: The purpose of my visit to Britain is to attend the seminar organised by British Council and to meet the Nuba in exile to discuss with them issues concerning the region. This visit gave me an opportunity to meet UK international NGOs and to establish link with them as well as to seek moral and financial support from them for our organisation. During this visit I was able to meet Senior staff at CAFOD, Christian Aid and Nuba Survival Foundation. And due to time factor I could not meet other NGOs which I planned to.
Nuba Vision: Do you consider the visit to be a success?
Zeinab: Yes, the Seminar was successful and fruitful. I was able to meet people from different countries and exchanged ideas and views with them. During the Seminar we made field visits to Glasgow the old and famous city. We visited Scottish Parliament. In London I was able to meet and discuss with Christian Aid the humanitarian programme which Ru'ya intends to implement. Ru'ya agrees to work in partnership with Christian Aid on Capacity Building programme.
Nuba Vision: Final words.
Zeinab: I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to the international community as well as to the international NGOs to support local NGOs in the Nuba Mountains in the repatriation and resettlement programmes of internally displaced people and also in 'HIV - AIDS programme. These are the most urgent programmes needed to be implemented in the Nuba Mountains. There are other programmes but less urgent such as vocational training for war- affected youths and for those missed out of education.