Two recent graduates from Warwick University have volunteered to go to Ibba Village to help with development of the site and buildings. After preparatory work with John Benington, founder and chair of The Friends of Ibba Girls School – himself a volunteer, a full-time one! – they leave England for South Sudan in October.
Funded by two UK-based charities, we have now been able to complete the first bore-hole connected with creating the new Ibba Girls School. Many, many thanks are due to builder Gabriel and his team, and Malcolm, who has been overseeing the work as project architect. He commented to Gabriel:
You have done a wonderful job with the boreholes. The bore-hole for the Chief’s village, with the 4 taps in the wall, is just want I had hoped for – I am very happy for all those who now have water close to their communities, and no longer have to walk several kilometres each day for water. Life will be
so much better now for many because of this. I am very proud to have been a part of it.
At The Friends of Ibba Girls School (in South Sudan) we have now changed our partner for donations and fund-raising. Click on the Virgin Money Giving logo opposite or here!
Elysia, Jemma, and Eva from Earlsdon Primary School in Coventry met Bridget, the district commissioner in Ibba and founder of The Ibba Residential Girls School, and the Ibba team when they visited the school in October 2010. They decided to organise a cake sale and other events and raised £60 for Ibba. Earlier this month they presented the money to John Benington, chair of the trustees,and Tina Kiefer (whose daughter Mia goes to the school) at a special school assembly. John gave the school a progress report and showed them the slides of the school site as it is developing … and now one of their teachers is offering to do some sponsored fund-raising.
Today we mark the the first anniversary of the independence of South Sudan (July 9th) by reposting Emmanuel Kembe’s song of Celebration on the occasion of independence one year ago. Celebration .
It took years of pleading before Jane Aketch, one of five daughters, persuaded her parents to send her to primary school in the dusty bush of South Sudan. Although her parents wanted her to learn how to read and write, like most of the communities in Aketch’s home county they did not place particular importance in furthering a girl’s education. Generally, in South Sudan, girls are supposed to stay at home and clean, while boys attend school, explained the 14-year-old. Her sisters all dropped out of school before completing their primary education. ”My parents didn’t approve of us going,” she said.
South Sudanese parents keep their daughters away from school for many reasons. Sometimes, they are reluctant to send girls to mixed-gender schools. More often, a girl is considered a source of wealth to her family for the dowry she brings upon marriage, and so is married off at a young age. In some communities, an educated woman who carries a pen rather than a bundle of firewood is considered a disgrace and by virtue of her education may attract a lower dowry. Other major obstacles girls face in gaining an education include sexual harassment and early pregnancy. Rosemary Ajith recalled:
I was married off at a very tender age. My parents were given so many cows by my husband. Up to now, my younger sisters are not allowed to attend school.They are often told to follow my example.
The education of a whole generation in South Sudan has been disrupted by civil war. Most girls drop out of school by 11, for domestic and childcare duties, or early pregnancy. Less than 6% of girl pupils finish primary education. More than one million children eligible for primary school do not have access to basic education, while the few schools that do exist are not conducive to learning. Low rates of primary school completion and high gender disparities pose enormous challenges to the development of South Sudan. Some seventy-five per cent of adults do not know how to read or write, and only 37% of girls aged 6 – 13 years attend school.
We are helping create a residential school for girls – the first in the country – in the village and county of Ibba, in the new nation of South Sudan. After decades of civil war, the majority of girls currently receive no schooling after the age of ten. Our school will be rooted in Christian values. It will be open to people of all faiths and none, providing high quality education for girls aged 10 – 18. We aim to welcome the first group of eighty 10-year olds in February 2013, in two classes of 40 pupils each.
This is a once in a generation opportunity to make a practical difference to the education and life chances of girls in South Sudan. We hope you will find out more at this website, join us and make a donation here, now! To make contact about helping us in other ways, see here. In the future follow progress on this blog and on Twitter.