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Personal Stories

Charity Atem

Drop in the Bucket has been working at the Alela Modern Primary School since 2009. We drilled at well in 2009 and a year later we went back and built toilets.

It was at this school that we met a girl named Charity Atem.  Charity was 16 years old at the time of this article.

Charity loved school and her test scores were excellent. Despite her grades, her parents decided they could no longer afford school fees for both Charity and her brother, so they decided to just pay for there brother. Their logic was they wanted Charity to get married so they could get a dowry. To them paying for her education would be a waste of money is she was to become a wife soon. Charity was devastated when they told her and pleaded with them to let her stay in school.

The bright 16 year-old was upset and frustrated by the fact that almost her entire community, thought it was wasteful to spend money on educating girls. The consensus seemed to be that girls will stop working once they have children, so educating boys has to be the priority. But as we have seen over and over again in the developing world, educating girls is the most effective way of moving communities out of poverty.

According to data collected by UNICEF educated women are more productive at home and better paid in the workplace, and more able to participate in social, economic and political decision-making. Also educated girls are likely to marry later and have fewer children, who in turn will be more likely to survive and be better nourished and educated.

A recent UNICEF report points out that educating girls dramatically reduces the chances of their children dying before the age of five.

Christopher Elem, the head-teacher at Alela Modern decided that losing a student of Charity’s ability and potential was unacceptable, so he went to her parents and threatened to take them to court if they denied their daughter the right to an education. Fortunately they relented and Charity was able to stay in school.

For Charity things are going well. Because of her head-teacher’s intervention, her parents allowed her to return to class and she recently passed the national exams. She’s headed to high school next term and hopefully a bright future. With education everything is possible for these children.

Personal Stories

Kenyi Openi

Kenyi Openi is 14 years old. He has three brothers and one sister, and is in 7th grade at Jalimo Orphanage Primary School, in South Sudan.

Kenyi says that the well Drop in the Bucket drilled has changed his life.  Before the well, his family was collecting water from a muddy, unprotected hand dug well, which would also dry up at times.  Pupils would often get water from the roadside puddles for washing and drinking.

Recently, Kenyi’s best friend got very sick and was missing a lot of school.   He had a number of concerning symptoms, including severe diarrhea.  The local doctor examined him and determined he boy had Bilharzia worm, which he had most likely contracted from these dirty water puddles.   Now the children have as much clean water as they can drink and no longer have to use these dirty sources.

Personal Stories

Nambi Masitulah – Makonzi Boarding School

Nambi Masitulah Drop in the Bucket- clean water UgandaNambi Masitulah is in class P6 at the Makonzi Boarding School which is in the Mubende district of western Uganda. When we first met Nambi, she was drinking from this water hole.
Before the new well, all of the pupils at the school were getting their water from this same contaminated water source.  They used this water for everything from drinking, bathing, washing their clothes and the school used it for cooking.   Several months ago, Nambi got extremely sick with Typhoid.  She was in bed for two weeks and thought she was going to die.  She missed all of her classes for the entire two weeks and was just in her bed in the dorm room.  Her parents live in the village which is many miles away so they were not able to come.  The teachers and her friends were there but she was wishing for her mom and dad.  She was very scared.  Now she is very happy for the clean water and happy that her and the other pupils no longer have to fetch their water from the old dirty source anymore.

Personal Stories

Interview with Headmistress at Lire Secondary School

The name of the woman pictured here is Gune Sylvia Mikaya. She is the Headmistress of the Lire Secondary School in South Sudan.
She graciously allowed us to interview her after the well was installed at the school.
Question: What is your educational background?

Answer: Because of the civil war in Sudan, I had my education in Uganda right from the lower level to the University of Makerere where I graduated with a degree in Education.

Question: When and how did you join Lire Secondary School?

Answer: (she smiles) I joined Lire Secondary as the Headmistress in 2007 after the person who was the Headmaster before failed to satisfy the expectations of the Board of Governors.

Question: How has the water situation been in this school?

Answer: The situation has been worse, especially when students have to move two kilometers to the nearest borehole . This has not only been hectic, but time consuming as well. It has also been making it very hard to control the discipline of the students. What makes it worse is when students fight with the community for water because of who should take water first.

Question: Would you like to pass a message to the donor?

Answer: (she pauses for a minute) I actually have run out of words, I don’t know where to begin and where to stop.  I appreciate the donor for providing us with very clean and abundant water, which I know will save our lives, save us time and improve community-school relationships.

Question: Are there any challenges you have had to face?

Answer: Of course!! As a woman controlling the behavior of men on the staff, it is hard given the cultural background of women being under men. But I keep myself focused and ready to meet any challenge.

Personal Stories

Amoko Anthony Alibe’s Story

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.

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