MAF assists partner ADRA in addressing challenges for children in South Sudan who do not have access to equal education opportunities.

Jemimah Ruth Aarakit works for ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) as an education project manager for a NORAD funded project which is called Strengthening Equity, Access and Quality in Education (SEAQE). In addition to the education project ADRA is implementing other projects in Kapoeta state such as Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Food Security/Assistance.

In the education project, through collaboration with the government, ADRA is supporting 19 schools in Kapoeta state where challenges around the education sector are being addressed.

The idea of the project is that once the people of Kapoeta have good educational opportunities they will be able to transform their community to be self-reliant thereby being able to shape the future development of their communities and promote peace.

Reflecting on education

ADRA engages directly with the community through a methodology called REFLECT. The purpose of REFLECT is to empower communities to appreciate the importance of education as well as empowering community to participate in identifying their own problems and solutions.

“The indigenous people of Kapoeta are nomadic cattle keepers. Their sole livelihood depends on animal rearing and education is not a priority,” Ruth says. “We take them through some basic literacy and numeracy classes in addition to other cross-cutting issues such as positive parenting, Child Protection, Peace education, Health and Nutrition, and a culture of savings where they have been able to form a village savings’ and loans’ association such that the individuals, their families and the entire community will benefit as a whole.”

Hunger causing dropouts

Hunger is one of the challenges in Kapoeta. Hunger causes children to drop out of school or never to be enrolled in to school. Many families – especially from Kapoeta – engage their children in petty trade, others end up sending their children to work in gold mines, while some children become beggars on the street, despite some schools are receiving the School Meals’ programme through ADRA’s partnership with WFP. The programme provides a basic school meal which includes sorghum or rice, beans, oil and salt prepared for the learners as a way to attract and retain children in school. The meal is served once a day during the lunch time after classes.

Faith compels me

“I left my family to come to South Sudan, because I am very passionate about humanitarian work,” Ruth says. “I think what drives me most is the humanitarian situation on the ground. I get so touched when I see people especially children suffering in situations where I feel I can show compassion to up lift them from that situation in order to change their lives to better.

My faith in God compels me, because God did not create anyone with the intention of suffering. ADRA’s global slogan is ‘serving humanity so all may live as God intended’. I am dedicated to compassionately serve the distressed people!“ Ruth concludes.

I love to fly with MAF

Ruth boarded the shuttle in Kapoeta to get a connecting flight to Nairobi from Juba. She was going home for R&R (Rest & Recreation) to be with her family.

I tried to get a connection directly from Kapoeta to Nairobi, but it was not possible as I had to pass through our Juba office to connect to Nairobi. I’m glad to fly MAF because of the good services and prayers that makes me feel safe when flying with MAF.

The pilots are very kind to the passengers and they have very good skills when flying. Thanks to MAF for opening a route to Chukudum where we operate as ADRA, with this route it makes our travels to and out of Chukudum easier. I love to fly with MAF and my return flight to the field will be by MAF!”

Story and Photos by Thorkild Jørgensen