Famine Relief at Loreto Rumbek School
In mid-February 2017 famine was declared in parts of South Sudan by both the UN and government officials. This is the first famine to be announced anywhere in the world in six years. It is feared that without direct and strategic intervention the situation could rapidly escalate to a disaster of epic proportions. Currently 4.9 million people, about 40 percent of the country’s population, remain in urgent need of food assistance. These already alarming figures are projected to increase to 5.5 million by July. A massive influx of internally displaced people and refugees to the region provides further demands and difficulties.
Loreto Sister, Orla Treacy, is Principal of Loreto Rumbek in South Sudan which operates three core programs; a community based co-educational primary school, an all-girls secondary boarding school and a child-centric community primary health care unit.
- Provide meals for 900 primary students, 240 secondary students, and the children and staff in the Health Care Unit at Loreto Rumbek.
- Source food supplies from areas outside the conflict zones in South Sudan before the rains begin and the roads become impassable.
- Engage responsible drivers willing to transport these supplies through areas of conflict, despite the personal risk to themselves.
- Support the preparation of over 12,000 meals for secondary school students, and primary and secondary school faculty/staff weekly.
- Support the Clinical activities of the Loreto Health Care Unit by providing medicines and nutritional supplements for women and children in the Maker Kuei community.
This project will provide Loreto Rumbek with the opportunity to build up supplies before the situation deteriorates further. Due to the lack of food security and economic stability, groups of youth and tribal militias have started engaging in localised opportunistic banditry in an effort to supplement their food intake. Sadly, incidents of raids on governmental and humanitarian stores has increased, increasing the difficulty of delivering aid to affected areas, decreasing security for national and international staff.
Secondary School Capacity Building at Loreto Rumbek
Due to the inadequacies of the education system in South Sudan, 50% of the primary teachers have only completed primary school themselves, and the average accredited teacher to student ratio is 1 to 138, only 12% of which are female. In South Sudan, a 15 year old girl is more likely to die in child birth than she is to finish secondary school.
The Loreto Girls Secondary School (LGSS) in Rumbek has taken a different approach to girl-child education in South Sudan. By boarding the students within the school grounds, the school has greatly reduced dropout rates due to early, forced or child marriages, and has eliminated teen pregnancy while at the school – both are very real threats to both a girl child’s life and education. The school provides proper sanitation facilities for all the girls, constant access to potable water, three nutritious meals daily and a dormitory to sleep in.
Most schools in South Sudan have dropout rates for girls over 61%. However, for Loreto students in their final year of Secondary School this rate is less than 5%.
The role of Loreto in education is not to solely challenge the students, but also to challenge the teachers and to encourage their professional development. This program will allow 2 teachers from LGSS to continue their education during the 2016 school year.
The program has given the school a competitive reputation within educational circles in South Sudan, allowing it to continue recruiting qualified and professional teaching staff. It is also a key factor in the retention of teachers; the school allows and supports the development of teachers , which in turn encourages teachers to stay longer at the school.
- Increased capacity/education for two teachers – This program will facilitate the capacity building/continuing education activities of two dedicated teaching staff at Loreto Girls Secondary School (LGSS).
- Retention of Teachers – by investing in the teaching staff at the LGSS, the school is able to hold a competitive edge in retaining and attaining teachers at the school.
- Improved Student performance – by providing learning opportunities to our dedicated teaching staff, students benefit from both their teachers continued learning and growth in expertise.
This program has already been a resounding success for the school, both in improving the quality of education being provided at the school and in increasing the number of years the average teacher serves at the school.
Loreto Girls Secondary School has become known for the quality of the education provided to the students attending and boarding at the school. The key to this success is the provision of accredited and qualified teaching staff for all subjects offered. The school provides significant resources for the recruiting of teachers locally, nationally, and internationally – giving preference to South Sudanese teachers, and female teachers.
Masonry Vocational Training Program
Loreto Girls Secondary School in Rumbek, South Sudan is making a huge impact with the quality of education it delivers despite the internal fighting which continues five years after independence brought an end to 20 years of civil war with the north. Loreto also offers a Masonry Vocational Training Program, amongst other Accelerated Learning Programs, which MWIA is proud to support. This project aims to improve employment opportunities for females in a traditionally male dominated profession.
Through this program Loreto makes its own concrete blocks for future construction. 15 senior girls stayed behind over the recent holiday period to participate in the Masonry Vocational Training. On the first day they made 300 blocks, 50 more than the men!
- Target youth from the Rumbek area including young adults boarding at the Loreto Girls Secondary School in Rumbek.
- Students learn the skills of brick making, excavating, laying of substructures (foundations) and superstructures.
- Train and certify the young adults participating in the full 90 days Masonry Vocational program.
- Improve participant’s employment opportunities.
- Females encouraged to explore a traditionally male field.
- This project is being monitored through the School engineer, mason proctors, participants themselves and the school’s development office.
View other MWIA projects
MWIA currently supports two Educational Scholarships and the Children’s Rural Library Program in Vietnam. Ensuring students have the resources and support to complete tertiary education is an important step to creating brighter futures. MWIA is proud of its commitment to the Scholarships which helps young female students attend university.