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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Answering the challenges of life in South Sudan

In June of 2014 we wrote about how challenging life is in communities throughout South Sudan, Africa's newest nation.

Assisting these communities by helping them access clean water, build schools, and provide for their basic needs, is especially important amidst the conflict and uncertainty that is present South Sudan.

HOPE International Development Agency is continuing to work with families and communities in South Sudan's Ibba Diocese, helping them access education for their children, clean water for all, seeds for growing healthy vegetables, and information about basic hygiene and sanitation practices that prevent disease.

Despite 2014 being a difficult year for people throughout South Sudan, it was an exciting time for the more than 400 families who live in and around the small community of Maroko, 16 kilometers west of the center of Ibba Diocese.

Life got a little bit easier for families in Maroko as they experienced the success that comes from having clean water and access to education for their children.

In April, families in Maroko rejoiced as clean water flowed from a borehole they drilled. One mother described the feeling best when she said, “We have been praying for clean water and we thank God because now we have it”. The community of Maroko, recognizing the importance of managing their new opportunity, formed a committee that is responsible for the management of their new resource. They have also learned how to maintain the well and its surroundings.

Following the completion of the community well, construction of a 4-classroom primary school began in earnest for the children of Maroko, and in September, the first students stepped through the door into their new classrooms.

There are 87 girls and 92 boys registered at the school the community named “Maroko Kpiapai (Model) Primary School”. A Parent-Teacher Association, formed when the school opened, works to support the two teachers, administer the school, and ensure that children receive a quality education.

In addition to being incredibly enthused about their children’s education, families offer whatever they can through “in-kind” support to help with the maintenance of the school and borehole. They may not have much money, but they give whatever they can to ensure their children’s future is one that includes clean water and education.

Though the journey to self-reliance will be a long one for the people of Maroko, the steps they have taken in this last year are evidence that they will make it!