South Sudan enters its 10th year of independence on July 9. On this date in 2011, hope in the promise of this new nation was bright as the people emerged from decades of civil war. Ethnic discord, however, is not reconciled easily or rapidly. We need only to recall the 400 years it has taken the people of the United States to confront racism and the resultant inequality among ethnic groups in our own country.
Soon after independence, South Sudanese were engulfed in another civil war, this time among its own people rather than with Sudan. Early in this conflict, Solidarity with South Sudan evacuated staff and “surrendered” a newly built teacher training college in Malakal to the military which routed the local population from this growing town along the banks of the Nile.
Solidarity has worked diligently to heal the wounds of war and to reconcile people of diverse tribes at the national colleges it has built and manages. Students at the Solidarity Teacher Training College (Yambio) and the Catholic Health Training Institute (Wau) live, study and work together during their two to three year programs. When asked what is the most important thing they have learned during this time, they often respond, “I have learned to respect and appreciate the different cultures of my colleagues.” Solidarity is helping to create the new South Sudan, all the while training teachers, nurses and midwives!
Thank you all for your support, whether it be through financial contributions, personnel, or prayers. Solidarity cannot continue this work without you. While the institutions are closed due to COVID-19, Solidarity continues to support local staff and maintain contact with students, many of whom are living in UN Protection of Civilian (POC) Camps or in refugee camps at the border.
Be sure to read about the creative initiative being taken by the staff and students of the Solidarity Teacher Training College to continue teacher education in the midst of this global pandemic. Through the use of smart phones, students are able to continue their classes remotely. The cost of one smart phone is $200 USD in South Sudan. Please help support this program in any way that you can.
Please join us in praying for peace in South Sudan. A prayer for Independence Day is available online in English, Spanish and French.
Sister Joan Mumaw, IHM
President and Chief Administrative Officer
Friends in Solidarity
Photo by Paul Jeffrey