– We’ve Built an Elementary School at a Refugee Camp! –

[Original by Reiko KOBAYASHI, Sudan Project (November 27, 2018); Translated by Y. Nakamura/S. Altman]

Last time, I reported on one of JVC’s projects for supportingsupporting birth registration in Kadugli, South Kordofan Province. This time, I will write a report on another project for supporting a school, which is planning to take in as many students as possible, including those with their birth registration certified.

If he was registered with it, a refugee child would go to an elementary school in his area. However, most schools are already overcrowded. It is not unusual that more than one hundred students are learning in a classroom without desks or chairs or that they learn outside. If refugee children were going to school, classrooms would become increasingly insufficient.

A new school building and children.

JVC is engaged in expanding or repairing school buildings in order to make more students including refugee children learn in better environments. We had only expanded existing elementary school buildings before then. However, this year, JVC built a new elementary school in a refugee camp where we had renovated a kindergarten two years ago. It will lessen students’ centralization in existing regional schools. They also won’t need to cross a busy street in order to go to school from their refugee camp. We agreed in advance that, although a classroom building would be built with assistance, the refugee camp residents would build a teachers’ office by themselves.

A headmaster making a speech.

The school building construction had been successfully completed and its delivery ceremony was held some days ago. There were participants from the provincial government, the village office, the United Nations and so on in addition to mothers and teachers. The ceremony really livened up with a tape cutting and participants’ speeches. A local administration’s participant remarked that they would offer support for school supplies such as uniforms and notebooks. We hope the school and the local administration will collaborate in the school’s management from now on.

Mothers cutting grass around the school.

When I went to the school for a preliminary inspection on the day before the delivery ceremony, mothers were preparing for the next day by cutting grass around the school building. As they saw their familiar JVC staff, they temporally stopped grass-cutting and shouted with joy to them. While attending the delivery ceremony, mothers were quietly listening to speeches and keeping a close watch on their children. I sincerely hope many children will study in this school and successfully graduate towards their promising future.

A look in a classroom.

The conflict in South Kordofan Province has been kept in a truce for more than two years. The situation there is getting stabilized and refugees who returned home from their places of refuge are increasing. However, the results of conflict hindered some refugees from returning home because infrastructures such as wells and schools were destroyed in their home areas. From now on, JVC will carry out activities in their home areas also, so that refugees could go back to living as it was before if they hoped to return to their homes.

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