“The words of Proverbs16:16 came to mind on a recent visit to World Vision Programmes in South Sudan, ‘How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!’ The sentiment of the verse came through in discussions with parents, teachers and community members throughout my visit – highlighting over and over the importance of education for the children of South Sudan.” Maurice said.
“South Sudan is the world’s newest state, born out of a long and bloody conflict. It finally became an independent state in July 2011. Unfortunately, independence did not bring peace to the South Sudanese people with a civil war erupting in 2013. While there have been recent advancements with a peace deal and a government of national unity, South Sudan remains an extremely fragile context.
There are approximately 1.7 million internally displaced people within South Sudan and 2.1 million others have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Even though there is some progress in relation to the peace process, many people I met do not feel it safe to return home yet. World Vision, with support from Irish Aid, have been implementing education and child protection activities in South Sudan for 8 years. According to UNICEF, the UN Children’s Agency, 2.2 million school-aged children in South Sudan are out of school and an astonishing 30% of schools are damaged, destroyed occupied or closed. Our Education programme works in Melut, Upper Nile State and focuses on providing safe learning spaces by rehabilitating classrooms and focusing on the quality of education with the provision of learning materials and training for teachers.
“On my first evening in Melut sitting with my back to the World Vision compound and watching the River Nile wind its way past it would be easy to forget where I was, but a glance to the left showed the vast Dengtoma Camp for Internally Displaced People. Sitting there earlier that afternoon I had spoken with teachers, members of Parent Teacher Committees and parents of children.