Children raising hands in Arabic class (South Kordofan)

Program Background

After conflicts broke out in 2011, we have been supporting people who sought shelter in the in-state government-held areas, the ones who fled to and live in refugee camps in nearby South Sudan, and the ones remaining in in-state rebel-held areas. In October 2020, the Sudanese government signed a peace agreement with rebel groups operating in different parts of the country. Although the rebel group based in South Kordofan was not part of this, some progress on the peace negotiation is still expected. In 2020, we continued to implement our humanitarian activities, despite all the difficulties caused by both COVID-19 and intercommunal conflicts.

Tilow IDP settlement area raided by an armed group in May 2020

Stories in Our Activity Areas

Kadugli County, South Kordofan State, Sudan

“Although I evacuated to the Yida Refugee Camp following the conflict, I came back to Kadugli to live with my father. When I got back here, I could not even write my own name in Arabic (Arabic is the official language in Sudan) but after attending a follow-up course, I became proficient in reading and writing in Arabic. I also received the top score among all the course attendees on the final exam. I was able to enter fourth grade, and to my delight, I continue to perform well on exams. I will keep studying hard to become a doctor in the future so that I can help the sick.”

Marghani, a teenager who completed the follow-up course

Yida Refugee Camp, South Sudan

“I have been attending JVC’s training program for volunteer teachers over the past several years. It is very interesting to learn about the relationship between education and society. I want to utilize this knowledge to raise awareness among a wide variety of people, particularly for those who are engaged in education. I am now able to read and write without the help of others. The knowledge I have gained through this training is priceless.”

Ninwa, a volunteer preschool teacher (right)

Educational support for conflict-affected children and quality of life improvement support for returnees (South Kordofan State, Sudan)

Outline of the Activities

We operate alternative courses aiming to expand educational opportunities for children unable to attend school or those who dropped out in the past. This program takes place in five villages within Kadugli, South Kordofan where school enrollment rates are extremely low. In 2020, we were temporarily forced to close due to the pandemic while armed attacks also made adverse impacts. Six months later, however, we managed to resume activities and assisted a total number of approximately 380 children to enter formal school upon program completion.

In IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) resettlement areas with insufficient water supply and limited means for sustaining lives, we carried out livelihood enhancement activities. We aimed to improve the villagers’ living conditions by building hand-pump wells and their livelihood by providing training for making vegetable gardens in three villages, and also providing essential school supplies like blackboards and notebooks in areas with limited humanitarian access.

Mother and daughter congratulating themselves for receiving an award at the graduation ceremony of the follow-up school

Farming vegetables during the dry season for livelihood improvement. Growing nalta jute (Jew’s mallow) and rucola (arugula)

Observed Changes

Nearly all children who completed our six-month program were admitted to formal school. Since the understanding and cooperation of parents is indispensable for children to continue their education, we conducted a series of awareness-raising sessions for the community, holding discussions with many groups of mothers. Parents’ attitudes towards education showed significant improvements as a result, and some even volunteered to clean classrooms to support the children’s progress.

We now face two challenges: first, to monitor children’s regular attendance at formal schools, and second, to provide opportunities for children nearing school age. We intend to continue our efforts to expand the children’s access to education and cooperate with the people who strive to break the status quo.

Assistance to preschools and child protection (Yida Refugee Camp, South Sudan)

Outline of the Activities

Although COVID-19 forced the closure of the pre-school at the refugee camp for an entire year, we continued to conduct training sessions for voluntary teachers. We also kept offering educational support for children who have been separated from their parents due to war or other domestic circumstances. As a result, we secured a safe environment for children and also succeeded in facilitating educational opportunities in follow-up classes and extracurricular activities, where children are also provided food as part of the assistance.

Assistance with sports goods for extracurricular activities

Observed Changes

The closure of schools deprived children of environments where they can enjoy social interaction with friends and others. Although it was unclear when schools could be reopened, residents and voluntary teachers repaired a thatched house previously used as a school and facilitated it for children’s use. Thanks to this effort, children now have a safe environment to hang around and study with friends. Since 2013, when we started to provide humanitarian aid to the above communities, the importance of preschool education has become widely acknowledged among the refugees, reflecting the efforts of JVC staff and partners such as the volunteer teachers.

[Source: JVC Annual Report 2020]

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