“A true testament to the incredible work and spirit of AET”- An amazing success story amid conflict in South Sudan
When working in a country in conflict, it is essential for a charity to be flexible. Plans can easily go awry and gaps and needs can suddenly arise in communities. Last month, our amazing team in South Sudan once again proved their ability to respond creatively and innovatively to meet local needs in these unstable times.
When an increase of conflict in Rumbek, capital of Lakes State, forced primary students to vacate one of the local schools, AET staff were quick to act. While the disruptions in education was detrimental to all students, it was particularly hard for the grade 8 students who were about to sit their exams. AET staff offered them space in our Women’s Learning Centre – which was on holiday before the next term began – as a safe space for learning. Rehoused in the learning centre, teachers were able to prepare and administer exams for all pupils, despite the loss of their school.
All too often schools get caught up in conflict. The Lakes State and Rumbek has experienced a lot of violence over the past year and schools are often affected. Schools have been lost to structural damage and occupation. Other schools are now in areas where people have fled and travel is no longer safe. Many schools in South Sudan have been forced to close down leaving children without access to their right to an education.
Africa Educational Trust is one of the longest standing organisations working in South Sudan, and we have remained operational throughout times of both conflict and peace. In 2013, when many charities working in South Sudan switched their efforts to providing aid and war relief, Africa Educational Trust continued their work to safeguard the right to education.
Our projects in South Sudan work towards supporting formal and alternative education despite the conflict, and the ways in which these students were accommodated highlights our vision to allow learning to continue in the face of instability. The Country Coordinator of the South Sudan Africa Educational Trust office has described the events in Rumbek as “a true testament to the incredible work and spirit of AET”. Our constant work in South Sudan means that we are on hand to respond immediately to situations such as this one. The AET’s Women’s Learning Centres are integral to many programmes and we are proud that they stand as safe havens for education. To us education is a right, and this serves as an amazing example of the rapid responses of Africa Educational Trust’s team.