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.
Mar 20, 2014

From Crisis to Hope

Hiding in the bush for safety.
Hiding in the bush for safety.

Dear Friends,

We were almost there! We were supposed to take off to South Sudan with our team and thanks to you we almost met our funding goal. But unexpected circumstances took us by surprise.

Our last update we were ready to go to South Sudan in February to begin implementing the Girls Student Leadership, HIV/AIDS Youth Program, Menstruation Management Workshop, Vocational Pad Production Program, drill our eighth water well, complete the last four classrooms at Tong Pagook Primary School, and plant two school community gardens.

But on December 15, 2013 civil unrest in the capital of Juba escalated into tribal and political violence that spread two days later to Bor, Jonglei State where our PESS offices and home of our South Sudan Director is located.

Daniel Majok Gai, our in country Director, his wife Yom and baby son Thon were caught in the violence and had to go into the bush to hide for safety. Daniel led 100 people to safety where they had to live nine days in the swampland without clean water and hardly any food to sustain them.

We, in the US, felt helpless as we made cell contact with Daniel and he described the violence and death occurring. PESS worked tirelessly with the US State Department during the Christmas season to evacuate Daniel and his family.   Daniel’s 10 month old son became critically ill and dehydrated and would not make it if they weren’t airlifted out. They caught a bush plane while under heavy gunfire at the Bor Airstrip to get the baby to Juba Hospital.

To hear and view more on Daniel’s harrowing escape, the following links are live for you to visit: NPR, CPR Colorado Matters, Al Jazeera America, and The Denver Post.

Daniel, Yom, and baby Thon are now safely in Nairobi. I joined to assist them in getting the family temporarily settled until things in Bor settle down and the villagers return.

Daniel is returning to Juba and Bor, South Sudan the end of March and will assess the schools and see how many villagers are there and how many students are able to attend school.

We don’t give up! We have been working in South Sudan since 2005 right after the signing of the CPA with constant challenges and keep going back and making a difference! We are serve 3,000 children and have made such an impact on girl’s education that the Ministry of Education came to visit Daniel and see if we could work together!

The culture is changing as the girls realize they have a right to education. It’s folks like you who are making the investment to help them make that change.

Let’s give the girls HOPE once again.   As they return from the refugee camps to their village schools, let’s give them the HOMECOMING PRESENT of Girls Leadership Development! After all, they are the future leaders of South Sudan and they want to lead the way to change!

With Gratitude,

Carol Francis-Rinehart
US Executive Director

Dec 13, 2013

We're (almost) ready to go to South Sudan!

We’re ready to go! Ready to implement! Over two years of preparation and now we’re ready to head to South Sudan to make these plans a reality. Interns from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver have worked on research, writing, and programme planning - the result is a comprehensive programme and implementation handbook for Student Leadership Development, including a newly revised HIV/AIDS and Menstrual Hygiene Management component. Over 1500 students at four different schools will be reached by the programme

Two PESS team members, Laura and Alex, will be traveling to South Sudan in the spring to implement the programme in Jonglei State. Laura and Alex, two returned Peace Corps volunteers, will draw on their experience in the field to successfully facilitate the programme and coordinate all of the logistics on the ground. Working closely with Daniel, the two will utilize the Training of Trainers (ToT) model to prepare the local teachers and community health workers and ensure sustainability.

The Student Leadership programme aims to develop and enhance leadership skills among teachers, prefects, and the student body. The participants will identify role models, learn decision making skills, and develop the ability to mobilize others, culminating in the design and implementation of a student-led Civic Action Project. The incorporation of HIV/AIDS education and Menstrual Hygiene Management will round out the programme plan and encourage healthy lifestyles for the participants. Further, the MHM portion will provide vocational training for girls and mothers who wish to sell sanitary pads as an enterprise. Not only will the participants learn new skills sets, but they will also create for themselves to income generation.

Executive Director, Carol Francis-Rinehart, is going to South Sudan in February to meet with Daniel and coordinate plans with the various ministries. She will also meet with Bor College High School to vet the school for possible inclusion in the Student Leadership Development programme.

We look forward to bringing home video and photos to share with you all!

We still your help! …to raise funds for two women & three girl leadership mentors and garden tools for the student’s community civic engagement garden!

From our PESS family to yours, we wish you a joyous Holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Carol Francis-Rinehart-US Director

Daniel Majok Gai-South Sudan Director

Oct 28, 2013

Anna Rocks in Computer Class!

Anna Angeth in Computer Class at Malek Academy
Anna Angeth in Computer Class at Malek Academy

Anna is in computer class!

Dear Donors, 

It’s always exciting to see our students in South Sudan excelling both academically and personally. As part of our goal to foster leadership development in our girls, our team is especially proud when we witness them lead their fellow classmates with confidence and determination.  Recently, we were thrilled to learn about Anna Angeth Awan, a former student at Ayak Anguei Girls’ School, working hard in computer class—an extremely rare opportunity for any girl in South Sudan! Anna is a very special young lady, who has been with PESS since her early years in primary school. We are so happy to continue to support her today, as she attends one of the most prestigious secondary schools in South Sudan—Malek Academy! 

In total, PESS has 8 former Ayak Anguei students sponsored in secondary school. Right now, they are sitting for mid-term exams!  Join us in wishing them luck as they continue to break barriers in a country where less than 1% of girls graduate high school. Big thanks to all of you for working alongside us in our dream to empower girls through education!


Other Updates

Our South Sudan Director, Daniel Majok Gai, recently made his yearly visit to Colorado! He was with the US team for three weeks and had the opportunity to share incredible stories of triumph, determination, and resilience from the field.  Fortunately, we were able to capture Daniel’s passion for girls’ education in this short video. If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check it out—it’s a great way to see for yourself how education is changing lives in South Sudan. 

Thank you for your continued support. Without you, none of this would be possible. For more updates, check out our Facebook page.

-The PESS Team

 
   

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