Mading Bor

Mading Bor Girls School – South Sudan

Sometimes the impossible is possible. A dream to build a girls’ school in war torn South Sudan was considered by many to be a task too difficult for anyone and the challenges seemed insurmountable.

The vision started back in 2010 when we began to work with a South Sudanese refugee named Haluel Herjok, the co founder of the Baai Bor Womens Support Group, whose great desire was to build a simple school to educate girls in Bor, South Sudan.

From the outset we faced many difficult and challenging situations including civil war, disputes over the land, looting and floods. Above all else, however, was the challenge of working in a country that has the lowest rate of female participation in education in the world. A 15 year girl in South Sudan is more likely to die in childbirth than to complete a primary education.

We decided to officially open the school, finished or not, on December 12th, 2018. Time and patience are virtues in South Sudan.

It was a moment of mixed emotions – relief, elation, pride, hope – and the happiness in the girls’ eyes was a joy to see. A moment when they felt valued. This school will give them hope for a brighter future. The school, the best building in Bor (population 300,000 with very few schools) sits as a beacon of hope for all girls and makes a statement that girls are at last valued. Our school is the only school built anywhere in Bor in the last 10 years.

Why girls? The most important thing is the value of women, particularly in developing countries and where there is conflict. They are the key to much needed change in this world. “There is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. May my eyes never see and my feet never take me to a society where half the people are held in silence. I can hear the roar of women’s silence – I sense the rumble of their storm – and feel the fury of their revolt.” (Thomas Sankara)

One hundred and sixty girls were enrolled in the first year and we were totally amazed at the academic results achieved in the national exams. It is a constant struggle to finish the buildings and keep the doors open so ongoing support is needed.