Visit the Sud Academy website (opens in new window).
Hundreds of thousands of refugees from south Sudan have fled to other countries in the region, most notably Uganda, Kenya, Chad and Ethiopia. The United Nations seeks to assist most of these refugees through its offices in Nairobi, Kenya.
While visiting Sudanese refugees in Nairobi, CASS was introduced to the Sud Academy, a rustic school on the outskirts of the city that seeks to educate many of the southern Sudanese children living in Kenya. Their plight is a difficult one. Alienated from their own homeland, these children and their families seek to make a living any way they can.
But their heart and allegiance still lies in south Sudan and this is where the Sud Academy plays such a vital role. It is an effort by the southern Sudanese refugees to educate their children in order that they can return to Sudan and assist in the rebuilding of their homeland.
When CASS visited the school, conditions were primitive, with hardly any textbooks, blackboards or even basic school furniture. Nevertheless, 250 Sudanese boys and girls walked for miles to attend school every morning. The teachers and headmaster, ranging from Sudanese to Kenyan and Ugandan in nationality, all volunteered their services each week with no stipend or honorarium. Things had deteriorated to such a state that the landlord had closed up the buildings and the school had recently ceased to function.
While the school is in neighbouring Kenya, CASS nevertheless feels that assisting the Sud Academy falls within its mandate. Meeting with school officials, parents and the landlord of the property, CASS accepted responsibility for providing food, educational materials, stipends for the teachers and headmaster, and rent money to keep the school open for at least one more year.
In their delight at having their school reopened, the entire Sud Academy put on a special outdoor performance that included a heartfelt musical number testifying to their desire to return to their homeland.
As peace begins to open up the south of Sudan, most of these students will eventually migrate back to their home villages. The lessons they received at the em>Sud Academy and the hope that was permitted to linger in their hearts (due to the reopening of the Nairobi school) will assist these keen young minds in becoming the future educational leaders of south Sudan.
The Sudan Mirror
For the first time, the people of south Sudan have their own newspaper. Published by Dan Eiffe, a CASS partner for the last few years, the Sudan Mirror represents something of a revolution in communications for south Sudan.
Previously, newspaper and radio stations were situated in north Sudan and targeted the northern Arab population. Now, with the Sudan Mirror, the people of south Sudan can see in print for the first time what is happening in other parts of the south. After only twelve months in existence, the Sudan Mirror has already empowered average southerners to seek peace in their local communities, in preparation for the overall peace that’s expected to come to the entire country within the next year.
CASS is providing support to this fledgling newspaper, in hopes that it will expand the prospects of peace throughout the country. In January of 2004, CASS presented two laptop computers to theSudan Mirror for their field reporters in the south of Sudan. Plans are now underway to provide more of these laptops within the next few months.
The publication of the Sudan Mirror coincides with CASS’s venture in building schools, as well as the successful completion of the peace talks in Sudan. This partnership will assist CASS in its mandate to educate southerners not only through educational institutions, but also through their own national newspaper.