In South Sudan, a girl is three times more likely to die in childbirth than she is to graduate high school. In contrast, PESS scholars have a high school graduation rate of over 90%! PESS knows that educated girls go on to become leaders in their community and to raise healthier, civically-minded families. This project will send 10 girls to private school, and provide mentoring and tutoring. Plus, the girls create a "Girl Group" which encourages camaraderie and develops peer support.
Girls and young women in South Sudan face nearly impossible challenges when trying to access education. In addition to overcoming an unsupported and unreliable public school educational system, girls are often the last of their siblings to go to school. There is still a persistent belief amongst many village elders that girls "do not need" to be educated. Because of this outdated belief, when a family's financial resources are limited, they often send only their male children to school.
PESS is uniquely positioned to meet these challenges head-on and change hearts and minds in the community. Executive Director Daniel Majok Gai is himself a "Lost Boy" who returned to his native Bor to help improve the community. Because of Daniel's deep ties to the community, he is able to discuss the importance of girls' education with leaders who will listen. Forming a Girls' Group also lets the scholars support each other in their educational pursuits.
Through increasing access to education for girls and young women in Bor, PESS hopes to improve economic opportunities for our scholars and to teach the importance of peace. Data has shown that educated women raise healthier families and become respected voices in their communities. It is our hope that these educated, brave, and brilliant young women will become the voices of a more peaceful and just South Sudan in the future.