Susan is 25 years old and already has 3 children. She left school for a very common reason, because she was ‘given away’ to a man for marriage. In South Sudan, married women always drop out of school because ‘newly married women are not allowed to go around on their own.’
Susan tells us a new wife cannot go to school ‘until her husband has shown interest to send her to school.’ This means many women are missing out on education and job opportunities because of culture and traditions.
Susan feels that education is important. “My husband is a pastor and a teacher,” she says, “he allowed me to go back to school.” Susan had only completed four years of primary education before she was married. However, she attended a school in Khartoum, prior to South Sudan declaring independence and her lessons were taught in Arabic. Susan is one of many South Sudanese people who, despite having some education, struggle because they are now entering the English speaking education system, having never been taught in English.
It’s for people like Susan that Africa Educational Trust created Speak-Up. Speak-Up is a twice-weekly radio education programme, which provides basic English education. Students can listen to broadcasts from home, or complete a 6-month tutored class if they wish to earn a certificate. Susan says, she enjoys listening to the Speak-Up radio programmes, because it is a free programme and everyone is allowed to speak and take part in the class, even the women.
Susan says she really believes that education is the key to changing things in South Sudan. She says, if you are educated and your husband is educated, then you can better feed and educate your children and it is a good chance for your children not to be in the same situation as you are in.
“I’m just waiting for the time when all her people are educated and then women will be able to make decisions and have their own rights. Things are beginning to change, but the changes are slowly happening.”
Susan, with the support of her husband and family, is back in the classroom.
The ongoing conflict hasn’t stopped people in South Sudan for envisioning a better future. The people of South Sudan continue to list education as one of their top priorities, coming only second to security and peace.
Radio lessons are low-cost, low-profile ways to provide lessons. This makes them perfect to reach large numbers of people, even when conflict continues to plague a region.
Africa Educational Trust has been using radio broadcasts and pre-recorded lessons to provide basic literacy and numeracy education across the regions where we work for over 15 years.
Angelo helped create our radio lesson bringing them to life with interviews on practical and relevant issues.