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Our First Students Graduate!

Girl Education in Africa – Our Work in South Sudan

We have some exciting news! Drop in the Bucket has just celebrated the graduation of our first group of South Sudanese secondary students. South Sudan has the lowest percentage of girls in secondary school in all of Africa. So this is a huge milestone in our goal to promote more girl education in Africa. 

When we first started our scholarship program four years ago, we were not expecting inter-tribal war, a refugee crisis, or a global pandemic. 

But despite many enormous challenges, we have a wonderful reason to celebrate. The first group of twenty-five girls has officially graduated from secondary school. 

Drop in the Bucket girl education in Africa - South Sudan

In the past four years, these girls have become part of the DROP family. We have mentored them through hard times, cheered on their victories, and watched them grow and thrive. 

The program started with 25 girls and is now sponsoring 140 vulnerable but hardworking girls to go to school. 

Graduating South Sudanese girls celebrate graduating secondary school in a program implemented by Drop in the Bucket

For the graduation, a group of donors funded a gift for each of them, which was a tailor-made traditional dress, handbags, and watches. The girls also got the opportunity to Zoom with supporters in the US. It was a wonderful day of celebrating their great accomplishment. Community members and education stakeholders also attended the graduation party. Some gave motivational speeches about how proud they were of these girls. The girls also read poems and spoke to the group about their experience.  

Click here to read more about our education program.


Why is a Water Charity Educating Girls in South Sudan?

Why is a Water Charity Running a Program Educating Girls in South Sudan?

In sub-Saharan Africa, there are many challenges around educating girls. But when it comes to educating girls in South Sudan, the challenges are even greater. The country has been in some sort of war or conflict for decades. South Sudan is also one of the poorest countries in the world. Many are living in refugee camps. And most families find it difficult to provide even the basic necessities like food for their families.

Even if a girl does make it to secondary school, the odds are stacked against her actually completing all four years. 

Why Girls?

From the time a female child is born, there is an understanding that she will be married off for a dowry when she comes of age. And that is often at adolescence. Though it’s technically illegal to marry an underage girl, it is the norm that is practiced throughout the country.

Since it’s understood that after she is married, she will become the property and responsibility of her husband. It’s often perceived as a bad investment to spend money on educating girls. With this level of poverty, if given the opportunity, parents will most often support their male children first.

Most South Sudanese girls will have little say in their marriage. And with South Sudan being a polygamist country, girls are often promised to wealthy older men who already have wives.

Educating Girls in South Sudan

Drop in the Bucket’s education program offers girls the opportunity to attend good boarding schools where they are able to focus on their studies without the distractions of domestic duties and other struggles. We are generally supporting between 125 and 150 students who are enrolled at schools in Uganda and South Sudan. If a girl qualifies academically, we enroll her in a Uganda school, where the school system is more stable, with qualified female teachers and boarding facilities. For those who do not score high enough to be accepted in Uganda schools, we have opened the DROP dorm which provides boarding for the girls who are enrolled in day school in South Sudan.

Although the main goal of the program is to provide the girls with a structured environment where they receive an education, it also buys them four more years to mature and grow up while they delay marriage a little longer.

The program provides more than just tuition. We also ensure that the students have scholastic materials, personal items, academic coaching, food, accommodations, support structure, security and medical treatment.

The Importance of Girl Education in Africa

For the graduation, a group of donors raised funds for a graduation gift of new traditional dresses, hand bags, and watches. The girls Zoomed with donors, which was so exciting and new for us all. It was a wonderful day of celebrating their great accomplishment. Community members also attended the graduation party. Some gave motivational speeches about how proud they were of the girls and their great accomplishment. 

To quote Kofi Annan:

“An educated girl is more likely to delay marriage and childbirth, enjoy greater income and productivity, and raise fewer, healthier and better-educated children. Indeed, investments in girls’ education have proven to go further than any other spending in global development.” 

  – Kofi Annan – Former Secretary General of the United Nations.

So to answer the question “Why is a water charity running a program educating girls in South Sudan?”. The answer is – water, sanitation, gender equality and education promote lasting change.

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