Can you imagine wearing your school uniform skirt with no underwear? How can you stick a pad to your underwear if there’s no underwear to stick it to? Little things like this can impede a girl’s education, and we’re grateful to Franco for making sure everyone has a chance for education in this part of South Sudan.
This picture tells a story – in a sense the best story imaginable – for Wunlang School. The village of Wunlang is so remote and rural that few vehicles make it there, and the footpath-become-road is impassable during the seasonal rains. People live in traditional shelters called “tukuls” made from local materials. Until our grant support enabled the village to construct its primary school for boys and girls, no brick and mortar structure was there. Now Wunlang School students play volleyball in the school yard, and the school building happily co-exists with the surrounding village homes.
Classrooms have also changed dramatically from the makeshift spaces in the shadow of trees the village called their school before they built Wunlang School several years ago. Village Help for South Sudan has provided additional grants to the school since it opened in 2008 – for routine maintenance, school supplies, and uniforms. Wunlang elders and citizens have become strong advocates for their needs through other channels as well. One example: this teacher displays the books donated to the school by UKAID in their massive program for South Sudan’s schools earlier this year.
Wunlang School is well-constructed. The local builder, the village laborers, and the young man who became our Field Manager – they all did an outstanding job building this school. It needs a fresh coat of paint, however, and more uniforms are needed. Your donations will help us continue supporting Wunlang village and their school.
The teachers in Wunlang and Rhumathoi primary schools, although all from the area, have various backgrounds: some are secondary-school graduates, some are still in secondary school, and some are volunteers whose education is just barely ahead of their students. Teacher training is a continuing issue in South Sudan, even as the use of the South Sudan curriculum and syllabus grows. Teachers have to be prepared to teach it.
So our six-day teacher training was a refresher course in primary grammar. Teachers from both Wunlang and Rhumathoi attended, and ias Wunlang is a four-hour walk from Rhumathoi, we made accommodations available in our community center guest house.
We were all learning as we went along, and we have realized that one exercise book for the trainer and providing exercise books for the students to copy into, while traditional and workable, wastes a lot of time. However, Kush Air, the three-times-a-week airline to Aweil, has a very strict baggage allowance of one bag weighing 20 kilos. Their definition of a carry-on is very small.(At the airport your trainer had to choose between her bag of training supplies and her bag of clothes, and she yanked a set of clothes out of her bag and stuffed it into her handbag; the other suitcase remained in Juba the whole time.) We will be exploring ways to get workbooks too all trainees in the future.
We recently provided a small grant to enable the Wunlang School football (soccer) team to get new uniforms. Here are some pictures.
Latrines were installed at Wunlang School when it was first constructed. We learned recently, however, that the latrines were not being used by some students – namely the young girls – whose modesty kept them away. The latrines needed a privacy wall to enclose the entrance area.
When we heard of this barrier to use, we issued a grant to construct the privacy wall. Yel, our field manager in the village took it from there. The Wunlang School pit latrines have been repaired successfully, and he sent us these pictures.
The young man doing the work is Maluil Makuei Piol. Because of his experience helping with the construction process for the School and other work in the community, Maluil is now an independent mason and carpenter. He got his start working on our village construction projects. Yel says, “The school has a great positive impact to the community and Maluil is the first young boy mason in the history of Wunlang.”
Stories of success like this make us very proud, and we hope you will continue to support Village Help for South Sudan to enable villagers like Maluil undertake development projects and advance their own skills and future livelihoods.