SSD 30 - UNIVERSITY SUPPORT FOR GIRLS
South Sudan is a young state, independent from Sudan since 2011. It is a country with great internal uncertainty, due to both political and inter-ethnic tensions. Its economy is one of the poorest on the planet. The Catholic Church tries to mediate for peace, and make up for the enormous educational and health needs it is sorely lacking as best it can. One example is that in South Sudan only 16% of girls over the age of 15 have had access to education.
The project focuses on Wau, the second largest city in South Sudan, and aims to support girls to complete secondary school and continue on to university. These young girls come from families that face great economic challenges, potentially discouraging them from continuing with their studies. Yet, the woman in this context plays such an important role in the family, she is the one who takes care of the weakest, she is the one who thinks and provides for everything. If they are not helped to enhance their capacities, it will be increasingly difficult for them to take on a leadership role. As the saying goes: "To educate a woman is to educate a nation".
As Comboni sisters we are accompanying about 100 girls on their secondary and university education. We follow them one by one by going to the schools to follow their education, visiting their homes, talking to their parents to make sure they are supported in their motivation to continue. We sponsor some of them to pay their school fees or cover other personal needs. We organise after-school meetings to make their education more holistic. We do this by meeting them every week in their small groups formed according to talents and interests.
Among the various groups, one of about 10 girls follows a training programme promoted by Talitha Kum, which aims to raise awareness and prevent the risks of human trafficking. These ten girls act as spokespersons in the other groups to learn about this problem and to have the ability to react with the help of reference points.
Among these girls, we notice some who stand out for their leadership skills and this encourages us to continue investing in this project because education is an important prerequisite for building a peaceful future.
- To ensure that girls are able to continue their secondary education and motivate the most capable to begin their university journey
- To fully train these girls so that in the future they can become leaders capable of caring for the needs of society in their context
Direct: about 100 girls
Indirect: the families and society
Referent sister for the project: Sr. Maria Elisabete Lourenco Almendra