Education is a human right and is of primary importance to the people of South Sudan. Africa’s youngest nation gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of civil war and continues to struggle with internal conflict. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) South Sudan provides educational, health and humanitarian support services to some of the 1.67 million internally displaced people (IDP) in the country as well as 298,000 refugees, mostly from Sudan.

The Education Program of JRS operates in six schools in the city of Yambio and Maban. It provides meals and other essential items to 1,300 children suffering from the effects of war and displacement. The program has improved education and health services by attracting and retaining youth in schools, and relieving pressure on families that have difficulty providing for their children. In Maban county, JRS supports three Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD) and one Temporary Learning Space (TLS). The ECD centres aim to ensure children are prepared for basic schooling. TLS gives youth the opportunity to learn when they are unable do so in a formal school.

COVID-19 has affected JRS’s education work. Schools have only re-opened for sections dealing with exams. Others are not scheduled to restart until April 2021. Online and socially distanced radio tutoring has been implemented and JRS is working to get the full program up and running. Their programs on hygiene and COVID-19 transmission prevention have been highly effective as people have taken to hand washing and social distancing, but facial coverings have received a lukewarm reception. JRS South Sudan continues to invest in better infrastructure and technology to advance education, despite COVID-19. This offers hope and helps people see they are not being abandoned.

Other CJI-supported projects in Africa

Africa – Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM)
Pan-African Youth Leadership and Mentorship
Africa – JCAM
Tax justice advocacy
Ethiopia – Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)
Dollo Ado – Integrated Functional Adult Literacy
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – Fe y Alegría
Access to quality education
South Sudan – Jesuits of Eastern Africa Province (AOR)
Sowing seeds of transformation
Zambia – Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC)
Capacity building in organic agriculture
Zambia and Malawi – Zambia-Malawi Jesuit Province
Beyond Cyclone Idai – Towards restoration and reconstruction

Banner photo: Students from St Mark’s Primary School in Maban, South Sudan listen to radio classes by Radio Miraya with instruction from JRS staff. Credit: JRS South Sudan.
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