When you are working in the newest emergent country in the nation, The Republic of South Sudan, there are many challenges, especially in a country where Only 0.8% of girls in South Sudan complete elementary school, ranking South Sudan among the world’s worst for gender parity. UNESCO 2011
A tornado hit Ayak Anguei Girls School located in Konbek, Bor County and demolished 6 of their classrooms. Then insecurity from inter-tribal conflict forced the school to close. The girls did not give up their schooling! They moved to another school in a more secure area until the unrest was settled and continued their education! UNICEF and UKAID are now rebuilding the classrooms and the girls returned to school on September 17th!
But against all these odds, 17 out of 23 girls matriculated from Ayak Anguei Girls Boarding School to Secondary School in a country where only 400 girls TOTAL are in the last class of secondary in the entire country! This historic number from one school could not have been possible without the generosity of Global Giving donors who helped provide dormitories and bunk beds!
This past summer, two female Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver graduate interns went to Ayak Anguei Girls School in South Sudan where they did field data gathering: one to measure the impact of providing boarding and beds in the newly constructed dorms and the impact of keeping girls on campus without them returning home each night putting them at risk for early arranged marriage and family chores not allowing them to continue their studies. The other field survey data collected was measuring the need and follow up of feminine hygiene sanitary pad distribution and the impact on girl's absenteeism.
There was significant quantitative evidence that the girls surveyed from Ayak Anguei Girls Boarding school compared to the girls at another coed primary school were more literate and had the ability to express themselves in English ( the primary language taught in schools) and give voice to their dreams of fulfilling their education into Secondary school due to boarding and bedding to keep them on campus without interruption to their education.
Annah Angeth Awan, an honor student and an orphan who lost her father in the war, is blessed to have an unusual mother who keeps encouraging her daughter to continue her education "I'm lucky to have a mother who allows me to go to school because she says, ' Education is the key of live and is everything in this world'. Annah has a dream "One day I will serve the world." She works for the betterment of her individual schoolmates and her community as whole. Her dreams are to become a doctor and help her people have access to healthcare. " I could not have this opportunity without being able to board and stay in school to focus on my studies. Thank you for helping achieve my dreams."
Another young girl child student at Ayak Anguei Girls Boarding School wrote a beautiful poem to express how much she values learning:
CHILD OF THE FUTURE
I am a small child, but I am the person of the future.I am the goodness of my land and I will do my best.Teach me that my mind may accept the word of learning.Learning is power; learning is the best in life today ever.
Rebecca Ajah Makuach, P6, Ayak Anguei Primary SchoolIf the World Were My Classroom” Anthology
How much more inspiring could these girls, over coming so many challenges from their culture, natural disaster and "against all odds" be than what Annah and Rebecca have expressed?
Thank you ( yin ca leec areetic) to all you who continue to meet the challenge by helping these future female leaders of South Sudan continue their education. By providing a safe place to sleep and a warm blanket and pillow to rest their head they are ready for their next day of studies!
On behalf of the 400 girls at Ayak Anguei Girls Baording School
Carol Francis-RinehartCo-Founder/Executive Director
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