Akok Aschai Deng was forced to move to Khartoum during the war a few years ago. She moved into a new home, started at a different school, had to make new friends and be taught in Arabic, the national language of Sudan, when she was used to school taught in English in South Sudan. It was a challenge to start her education all over again, but Akok was up for it because she loved school so much. Akok learned the new educational system and got really good grades while living in Khartoum. She even made it all the way to secondary school in just a few years. When the war subsided and she was able to return home to Aweil in South Sudan, Akok was welcomed with having to start school all over again, again! Akok was bummed that all her progress would be thrown away, but she held her head high and decided she was ready to start over from fourth grade, which is the grade she currently is in today.
When Akok finishes primary and secondary school, she wants to leave Aweil and go to the best college to study “Development.” She thinks that South Sudan desperately needs to advance and reform its policies so that people can benefit and live better lives. Right now, too many people don’t have clean water, electricity, enough food, and so much more. Akok insists that the most important way South Sudan will develop is through educating the people. According to Akok, South Sudan must start by educating girls “so that girls can feel in control of their lives just like boys already do.” Akok considers education to be the key to opening girls’ minds to new methods of living and feeling. That way, girls get to decide for themselves what makes them happy. These feelings of empowerment will then lead to a more equal society in South Sudan.
When Nobert Alupo was just shy of 7 years, her father passed away. Nobert’s whole family was devastated with grief and was unsure of how to support themselves without him. Nobert’s mother took his death the hardest and after only a couple of months, she abandoned her family. As the eldest sister, Nobert was responsible for taking care of her younger sisters who she remembers crying all the time because they were so sad about losing both of their parents.
Since the family was already below the poverty line before Nobert’s dad died, they didn’t have much to go on. The siblings relied on their extended family members, like aunts, uncles, and grandparents to support them. However, no one in their family was well off, so daily necessities like food, clothing, schooling costs, and shelters were a struggle to manage. Luckily Nobert’s aunt was able to pay for the girls’ educations. However, being a girl made an already hard life that much more difficult for Nobert. As she matured, Nobert found attending school to be quite challenging during her menstrual cycle since her aunt couldn’t always afford to send her pads and since at that time, there was no sanitary water near the school. Every month, she would miss out on learning, simply because of her gender. Nobert is so thankful to Drop in the Bucket, who provided a sanitary well at the school. “It has been of help that Drop in the Bucket has protected a well for the school, water has been brought closer and constantly available which has lessened the burden in times of emergencies,” Nobert says.
Amoko Anthony Alibe is the headmaster from the Stars of Hope Primary School in Malakia near Nimule in the Equatoria District of South Sudan.
Anthony was born in 1978 in a village,not far from the school where he now teaches, called Matara. Unfortunately, In 1989 the LRA attacked Anthony’s village and he had to leave Sudan for a refugee camp in Uganda.
Although life in the refugee camp was tough for Anthony. The educational he was able to receive in Uganda was considerably better than the one he would have received in Sudan, so Anthony was able to stay in Uganda and get his secondary education in Ajumani. After graduating he went for his teacher training at the Arua Primary Teachers College in Arua, Uganda. Two years later he returned to Ajumani and taught for another two years. Anthony loved teaching and the students loved his enthusiasm for the work. At the Uganda Martyrs University he received his Masters degree and after three years later he returned to Sudan.
In 2008 Anthony became the headmaster and English teacher at the Stars of Hope Primary School in Magwi county. There he was in charge of over 704 primary students and 241 nursery students.
“I had the skills to be a teacher, but never realized that you become a role model to the students, in every way imaginable,” Anthony reflected.
Before the well was drilled the school had to walk 1 km every day for water, which doesn’t seem as far as many schools in South Sudan, but when you take into account just how much water a school of nearly 1,000 students needs on a daily basis you start to look at it with different eyes. Every day the school’s cooks and other workers would walk with 15 jerry cans 3 times a day! Sometimes the had to pull students away from their studies to help with fetching water.
Stars of Hope is unusual for South Sudan in that it provides the children with food every day. For some of these kids this may be the only food they will eat all day, but the school needed water to be able to prepare the children’s lunch.
The nearest well was in the middle of town and being used by a lot of people , so there were always long lines for the water. “Sometimes,” Anthony explains, “the borehole in town will be so congested that the children will simply go without food for a day.”
Everyone at Stars of Hope is very happy about the new well. “We thank Drop in the Bucket and their donors for what they’ve done here for this school,” Anthony proclaims. “We shall never forget this moment in the history of Stars of Hope.”
This project was a collaboration between Drop in the Bucket and our friends at Water Harvest. Thanks to Steven and everyone at WHI for their hard work and dedication to the project. Also thanks to Godfrey Lilia for the photo and story.
Our good friend Robinah set up a nursery school named after her father in Imanyiro. She also runs a Primary school in the Jinja area, but “Pop’s Place” in Imanyiro is a particularly great school. Rather than trying to educate hungry children, Robinah makes sure that all the school children get to eat at least one nutritious meal daily, and now they also have a well.