South Sudan continues to be embroiled in conflict, and with more than 5 million facing famine, aid organizations are unable to reach those in need. Even if they could, the international community has only a portion of the funds required to feed all the hungry people in our world today. ASAH was displaced by this conflict in early 2014. The fighting has spread to new areas of the country, and thousands leave the country daily, many of them taking refuge in Uganda, near ASAH’s first Uganda home in Moyo, on the northern border of Uganda, bordering South Sudan. Last January, when the refugee population on the border numbered in the 100s of thousands, overwhelming the ability of the district to provide power and water, we decided to move.
We had previously decided to send our secondary and 7th grade students to St. Noa, a boarding school located in Zana between Entebbe, the old British capitol, and Kampala, the capitol and largest city. Ajah Makeer Galuak, sister of Joseph Akol Makeer, our co-founder, and in-country director of our program for a time in Moyo, did the school scouting for us. This new school has upped the expectations for our students. Those who were at the top of their classes are now competing with many other smart students for top positions. Some of our students are struggling, but we are seeing improvements.
The girls are up at 4 am to bathe, morning tea at 5, classes at 6, breakfast at 7, more classes until lunch, classes after, then sports or other activities, a break for dinner at 6 pm, class at 7, then back to their dorms, lights out at 9. It’s a long day, but our girls are thriving. They’ve joined clubs – including Girl Scouts!
Our orphaned girls have made friends with girls from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and other countries. As Dinkas, our girls are generally the tallest in their classes. Their English skills have skyrocketed. They are happy. Which means I am happy, too. I believe that many of the difficulties we have been through have made us stronger as a group and has solidified the bond between these vulnerable girls. ASAH is part of their history and their sisterhood. They have learned what it means to be Protected, Educated, and Empowered – it rolls of their tongues as easily as it does mine – and they expect to help family members and others one day, and they will be there for each other.
Thanks to all of you who have supported ASAH financially as well as with your good wishes and prayers. We have monthly sponsorship opportunities available. Email info@ASAHinSudan.org or call 701-478-7800.