Today, July 9, is Independence Day for the world’s newest country. The people of South Sudan face many challenges. The young people graduating from Solidarity with South Sudan’s teaching and nursing programs are meeting these challenges with hope and courage.
John, 30, a student at Solidarity Teacher Training College, is married with four children. He lives in Abyei, a violently contested oil-rich land on the border between Sudan and South Sudan. In an interview, he talked about the many ways his experience at STTC has changed his life, and his students’ lives, for the better.
“STTC means so much to me because I am not only receiving quality education from committed teachers, but I am also getting to think about my prayer life… I am part of a group that does the rosary prayers every Saturday. We pray for peace and also for the sick.”
John was a teacher for eight years prior to beginning his coursework at STTC. “I used to believe in corporal punishment, but in STTC I learned that the best solution in disciplining is through positive reinforcement… This is especially important in a country where children have mostly grown up in war — you can see it in the small mud models they make. They make guns, tankers and other weapons of war. Teachers are role models and peace builders — they are the ones who understand the learners and are the ones who are at the grassroots, in the communities, and are able to bring change through education.”