Education for a brighter future

Jesuit Refugee Service South Sudan offers skills training to internally displaced youth in Maban County and Yambio County. Photo: JRS South Sudan

Mohealdin Abdallah Hassan, along with his nine siblings, grandmother, and stepmother sought safety in Maban, South Sudan from the civil war in the Blue Nile states of neighbouring Sudan. The journey was diffiult, he recalled. He saw mothers and children left behind along the way. “It was hard to look at them,” he said.

South Sudan hosts the biggest refugee camp in the Upper Nile state of Maban, which includes people who have fled the Blue Nile states of Sudan. South Sudan faces its own challenges. It gained its independence from Sudan in July 2011, after more than 20 years of civil war. Two years later, a civil war broke out in South Sudan and continued up to 2016. This resulted in the death of 100,000 people, and the displacement of more than four million people, including 2.5 million who fled to neighbouring countries.

Maban suffers from frequent flooding when the river Yablus carries heavy rainfall downstream from the Ethiopian Highlands. The host community that occupies the

lowlands has been most affected, but the flood waters also cut off access to refugee settlements, which has made life difficult for people living there.

Despite these challenges, there are refugees like Mohealdin who participate in the teacher training program of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), which receives support from Canadian Jesuits International (CJI).

Mohealdin had to drop out of school when he and his family fled the war, but he carried all his dreams and aspirations with him.

Today, he is part of the JRS preservice teacher training program. JRS has not only given him education support, including computer skills, but “social skills on how to promote peaceful co-existence,” he said. Life in a refugee camp is “very hard and it requires patience,” said Mohealdin. But he said people can have access to education, healthcare, and food.

“Let us use this time, this chance before we go back to our homeland. Through education one can achieve goals and become independent,” he said.

JRS provides a variety of humanitarian support and educational services, including Early Childhood Development Centres in South Sudan.

JRS hopes that its service of providing education to refugees will bear fruit and equip them with skills that will help them in their lifetime.