World Vision International
article • Friday, February 15th 2019

No more risky trips through the Nile River for 729 school children

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Aboba with the temporary learning shelter in the background. A humble place for studying but it keeps the children safe and able to attend classes daily.

“I am happy with the support that we got from World Vision. I want to become a teacher someday”, says 12-year old Aboba from Melut County. She previously attended classes in Dengtoma Camp which is a bit distant from her village. “My sister and I have to cross a river to go to the school in the camp”, she adds. They eventually decided to move to the class under the tree near their house.

The good news is – World Vision was able to build temporary learning shelters for the 729 students including Aboba so they will not miss their classes and are safe enough to attend them every day. “We also received exercise books, pens and pencils”, she further says. 

One of the temporary learning shelters. They are made of grass, local wood poles and plastic sheets available in the area.

A UN report states that around 2.4 million children in South Sudan are out of school, 60 percent of these are girls seven years old and below. At least half of the over 3,000 schools in the country closed down or were damaged during the conflict. Some of these schools in Melut County are not fully functional hence most children are either studying under the trees or not studying at all.

Apart from the rehabilitation and construction of the learning shelters, World Vision trained 68 teachers and provided materials such as books, black boards, boxes of chalk and cleaning equipment. Onesta, 24, is a mother of four children and a teacher in one of the schools.

For three years, Onesta took the effort to teach the children under the trees as a volunteer. She was concerned of their safety and at the same time do not want to miss their education just like the millions of children in the country.

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Onesta started volunteer work as a teacher so children do not have to cross the river to attend classes in the camp.

“It was very difficult to hold classes under the tree especially when it rains. But, along with three other volunteers, we did our best as we are worried of the danger when children cross the river to go to the school in the camp”, Onesta recalls. World Vision also provides the teachers with incentives to support the benefits they get from the government’s education ministry.

READ: Bringing over 100,000 children back to school

Onesta says, “Now I am happy to teach in the classroom built by World Vision. My hope is for the support for the children and the teachers to continue.” Anteneh Mekonnen, the Integrated Education, Child Protection and GBV Technical Manager said providing access to these children to get the education is very crucial and would have a positive impact in their lives.

Mekonnen said it took the World Vision team at least 50 trips of these small boats to transport the materials crossing the Nile River.

Mekonnen shared how difficult it was to secure the materials like wood, grass and plastic sheets from the local businesses in Melut County. The next challenge was transporting them though small boats from the county to the village crossing the Nile River.

Through Iris Aid’s support, World Vision has reached more than 32,366 children, youth and adults, supported more than 11 schools and over 9,700 primary school. More than 128 teachers were also trained to enhance their skills. Basic life skills were provided to 563 youth that included peace building, conflict management and leadership.

Photos by Anteneh Mekonnen/World Vision

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