Project Education South Sudan

The mission of Project Education South Sudan (PESS) is to help fund and support the building of primary schools in rural South Sudan. PESS emphasizes the inclusion of girls and women in the educational opportunities it promotes. PESS fosters community empowerment and leadership development in order to ensure that educational progress is sustainable.
Jan 13, 2017

Project Education South Sudan Global Giving Update January 12, 2017

High school girls supported by PESS
High school girls supported by PESS

Project Education South Sudan (PESS) is laser focused on bettering the country’s 16% female literacy rate – a record that marks South Sudan as dead last among the nations of the world. We have a big task, so we are adding new tools. On January 1 we implemented several new programs to boost odds of high school girls succeeding in their studies. 

One teacher in each school attended by PESS scholars will be hired to stay after school to provide tutoring for all PESS students. Once girls get home from school, they are expected to do work to support the family. In the evening, the sun sets quickly in the tropics and after 8 pm there is virtually no light. Almost none of the families that PESS supports has electricity (to say nothing of an Internet connection). With no lighting in the evenings, no further studying gets done. After school tutoring will provide a huge educational boost to the girls in the program. 

One PESS-supported student in each school will act as a student leader to communicate goals and activities of the program to fellow students. With no social networking or email, communications must be done the old fashioned way – by cell phone. Yes, many families do now have cell phones that work when the phone towers are functioning. When they are not, student leaders will communicate directly to other classmates during school. Student leaders are already contacting the girls in their schools to let them know about group meetings and other program activities.

One Saturday each month (more often, hopefully, once the program gets rolling), the girls will gather to have a social time and hear inspirational speakers – leaders in their young country who have positions in government and business, leaders who will provide an example of a successful working woman in society. The meetings will also provide an opportunity to discuss family and social pressures that work against their continuing status as students. Girls often do not get a great deal of support in school and are often urged to marry young and start families. As with young people in all countries, peer support is critical to making good choices and to maintaining good mental health. 

Remember Abuk? We told you about her in our last report. Abuk completed her high school education in December and is now waiting to take her exams to qualify to move on to college. She is not waiting though to put her education to work. She has just agreed to work as Daniel's assistant, helping to implement the programs described above. 

The support you offer to Project Education South Sudan is sent directly to South Sudan to help administer the programs that produce such amazing results in young people as they prepare to become tomorrow’s leaders.  Daniel and Abuk are not slowed by the incredibly difficult environment in which they work. They simply express the deepest gratitude for all the generous people who help make this possible. 

From them to you –  

THANK YOU!

Abuk, now working for us in South Sudan
Abuk, now working for us in South Sudan

Links:

Oct 18, 2016

PESS Global Giving Update October 17, 2016

Daniel describing a day in school in South Sudan
Daniel describing a day in school in South Sudan

Young girls' education is the primary focus of Project Education South Sudan. Given that only one in 6 women in this newest of nations can read and write, and given that 70% of school-age children have never set foot in a school, it is not surprising why this is important to us (information is from Unicef education statistics). 

Daniel, former “lost boy” (war refugee) from Pagook, a small town near Bor, South Sudan is dedicating his life to this cause. After moving to the United States in 2001, after receiving a Psychology degree from University of Colorado, and after receiving a passport from this wealthiest of nations, the easy approach would have been to build a career in his adopted country, the USA – a nation of immigrants. But, Daniel chose not to pick “easy”. For the past five years he has lived in Bor, near his home of Pagook – most of the time, that is. 

For one month out of each year, Daniel has been returning to Denver, Colorado to meet with his friends and supporters. Why is this important? Without generous friends in the US, Daniel would not be able to do what he is doing. He would need to get a job to support his family, and would likely have little time left to devote to his passion of helping young girls stay in school and achieve the goal of basic education. 

So, what did Daniel do during his annual trip to the US in August and September of this year? He educated us. That is his other passion – to help people in Colorado (and elsewhere as they hear about us) better understand the people of South Sudan and the huge need for improved education. By building understanding and bridges of relationship between people of Denver in the US and people in the Bor area of South Sudan, strands of connection between these two cultures and groups of people are woven. As this effect is reproduced by hundreds and thousands of other small groups of international friends, gradually the world becomes smaller, more connected, more hopeful, and less dangerous. 

Meet Abuk, who says: I appreciate you for your continuous support toward my high school education. Your support had overcome the challenges that were on my way to higher education. It has encouraged me to continue my studies to achieve the coming bright future in South Sudan. 

Daniel and Project Education South Sudan are working to help Abuk succeed in school! 

This is why we want to thank each one of you who help Daniel and Project Education South Sudan as we work to fulfill our mission of educating young girls in this least literate of all nations in the world (according to Unicef). Only 6% of giving by US donors goes to international causes (according to Global Impact), but how important this 6% is! This giving by US donors helps to build these strands of relationship that we at Project Education South Sudan are helping to weave. How can we thank you enough?! You are helping Abuk, and you are helping Daniel achieve his all-essential task.

Daniel with Emmy winning Colorado journalist
Daniel with Emmy winning Colorado journalist
Abuk: I appreciate your continuous support
Abuk: I appreciate your continuous support

Links:

Jul 22, 2016

Global Giving Report July 19, 2016

Newly built desks arrive by truck
Newly built desks arrive by truck

In South Sudan it is rainy season. The almost daily rains cause valuable crops to grow. This is good, but the steady rains also make most roads impassable. The few paved roads, mostly in the capital city of Juba, are fine, but most roads in South Sudan are dirt, and become slick and rutted this time of year. With almost no roadside service available, most cars and trucks stay off the roads. The movement of goods, services and people slows and many kinds of work become nearly impossible. When dry season returns in October or November, there will be a rush to complete projects that are currently languishing.

In the few months before the rains arrived, Daniel was able to complete several important goals. Two wells were drilled, in the village of Pagook and at the Sunlight Primary school in Bor that Daniel runs. Two school roofs were repaired that had been damaged in recent storms. School desks, 60 of them, were built and delivered to two villages. Construction of goods such as desks have to be commissioned.

Materials need to be located, and carpenters hired for the work, as there are few off the shelf products such as this. When the shipment of desks is delivered, the village turns out to welcome the arrival. This is a big deal for young students who know they will be able to sit at a desk, rather than on a crude log bench or even on the dirt floor.   

Schools continue to operate during rainy season, so Daniel continues his work of vetting new students for tuition assistance. PESS now pays tuition and living expenses for 50 girls, much of this through serving as a partner with She’s The First in New York.

While we cheer the progress, it comes with much effort. Since there is no banking service in Bor that is able to receive funds from the US, Daniel has to travel to Juba to secure the funds to make tuition payments for students at the schools and to complete the other projects that PESS does. Although the road trip is only 125 miles, this can take a full day during rainy season, that is when the buses and trucks can actually even make the trip. The short hop by air can cost hundreds of dollars each way, and Daniel often has to pay for several days of hotel stay on these trips. Banking has become a challenge, so Daniel had to visit the bank daily until the funds were transferred to his Bor bank. Business in South Sudan is often not an efficient operation.

On top of this, Daniel’s family has experienced multiple health challenges this rainy season. Malaria and parasitic diseases are frequent visitors, and these bouts often frustrate Daniel’s effort to achieve the work goals he tries to reach. These conditions are hard to treat because, in the small clinics available to Daniel’s family, diagnosis is imprecise due to the lack of medical resources and effective treatment drugs are inaccessible.

Daniel remains grateful to his friends and supporters who offer him a great sense of encouragement and strength. Daniel maintains an amazing optimism and cheerfulness, even during a challenging rainy season. Thank you, each one, for your valued engagement!

The new desks bring smiles to students
The new desks bring smiles to students
Daniel with Students
Daniel with Students
 
   

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