Looking Back, Looking Forward

As we look back on our notes at our annual meeting, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. Our first project was Wunlang School, and now Wunlang is a destination for families seeking education and safety for their families. We have 890 students enrolled, and more than half are girls. Our high enrollment and retention rate is due in part to our providing menstrual supplies and underwear, and to the cash stipends paid by the British NGO Girls’ Education South Sudan. Because Wunlang School has a campus and is no longer a school under the trees, it qualifies for support from other institutions. Graduates of Wunlang School are attending secondary school in Aweil and are working, even with only a primary education, for International Rescue Committee. One of our first teachers is now the county administrator of education. Wunlang Clinic got very busy in the malaria season, which was very deadly this past year. One reason for this is the very high cost of anti-malaria medicine. One of next year’s goals is to research a reliable source of anti-malaria medicine, make a bulk purchase, and sell the medicine at a reasonable price. Promoting entrepreneurship has always been our model.

Waiting for malaria treatment at Wunlang Primary Care Center

Our Rhumathoi community center is doing well under new leadership. The previous leader is now working primarily for SunGate Solar. The Rhumathoi solar installation is functioning well and is now generating income for the center. The shop in Wanyjok is also contributing income from marketplace sales. SunGate Solar, now spun off as its own enterprise, continues to thrive with major support from one investor. The business now targets new suppliers and pay-as-you-go products as well as micro-grids in marketplaces. The whole story of SunGate is remarkable. Mou Riiny, who came to America as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, lived with foster families, graduated from the University of San Diego with an electrical engineering degree, and through Village Help for South Sudan, supplied solar-powered battery packs to his home village in South Sudan as part of his senior project. The enterprise, while not yet profitable, is bringing in sufficient revenues from sales to pay a staff of 30 and its operating expenses. We have challenges to meet. We are still short of funds to bring clean water to Malual-Chum. (You can donate directly to that project here.) Our school in Thiou still needs a permanent roof repair. We want to continue providing supplies for girls and school lunches at Wunlang. You can make a difference and help us continue to supply education and opportunity to remote villages in South Sudan.