Our non-profit organization, previously called the Community of South Sudanese and American Women/Men, was founded in 2005. Our main mission was to resettle, provide educational support and mentor the lost girls of Sudan in Boulder, Colorado. Once the girls graduated from different educational institutions in Colorado, our board of directors altered the organization’s mission to help directly inside South Sudan in the Eastern Equatoria State.
In 2012 some of us travelled to South Sudan and met community leaders in Isalaro village. We shared with them our ideas of giving back to the community. The leaders told us that the greatest gift we can give back would be building a school for girls in Isalaro village and they allocated two kilometers square feet for the school. We were so excited with the idea of building a school for girls in South Sudan. We came back to the America and updated the board members about our meeting with Isalaro community leaders.
Since the organization’s mission in the United States of America was delivered, our board voted on changing our organization’s name to Empowerment Through Education (ETE) Foundation. The mission statement is as follows: The ETE Foundation provides educational opportunities for the women and children of South Sudan. By building schools, training teachers, and providing health services, we aim to empower women and transform their communities.
Since then, I have been traveling to South Sudan to follow up with the logistics of the school. Last year we registered 184 pupils ranging from ages of 4 to 13 years old who had never been in a classroom before. We arranged the classes according to the ages of the kids, and decided to open our school under a tree since there was no building structures in place. Our board here in Boulder, Colorado is currently working on fundraising for building the school structures.
Right after having the pupils attending school under a tree for a whole semester, little do we know that our under the tree school can only function during the dry season. In the rainy season, whenever it rains, it means that the school is closed for the ‘unknown rain public holiday’ since the school administration have no idea how long it will rain for. The only thing the school administration have control of is to let the kids, teachers and their staffs run home as soon as possible.
Our under the tree teachers realized that they can’t deliver effective teaching during the rainy season, so will have to look for an alternative to do their work even if the mother nature is showering them with water blessings. So, they approached the local government officials and asked if they can use the government widows’ town homes constructed near our site to educate our kids there since the homes are not occupied yet. By the beginning of this school year our kids are attending their classes in a real building classroom, and it is really a blessing and a joy that the ‘unknown rain public holiday’ is no longer applicable.
Meanwhile, our board in Boulder, Colorado voted that the little funds we raised so far can be put in use and provide the kids with something small to eat in the morning. So the idea of cooking porridge was born. As you can see in the picture below, here is the lady in charge of making the porridge.
She cooks outside when there is no rain otherwise she has a room to run into whenever mother nature blessed them with rain that day.
This picture of the lady and I mixing porridge under the tree was taken during my last visit to our school project in Isalaro. This time was special because I was able to meet the kids while they were in session during the raining season.
Things are moving forward with our Islaro school project. Stay tuned for future updates!