SSAORO's first Level 8 graduation will take place December 2015. The graduating class of 11 children includes 4 girls and 7 boys. SSAORO is most gratified that its Gumriak primary school has operated successfully for over 7 years since it opened on July 2, 2008.
SSAORO has received a $10,000 grant to send our top girl to secondary school and has also begun a matching challenge to receive two more (click here to see details). We are also pursuing opportunities for some of our male graduates to continue their education.
SSAORO and Mothering Across Continents are sharing a grant from St. Luke's Episcopal Foundation in Saulisbury, N. C. to enable 4 teachers to attend a three-year in--service training program at South Sudan's prestigious Yei Teacher Training College. Abraham Gueng, Gumriak's Headmaster, was selected to attend the initial program which started in May, 2015. In total, there will be nine workshops held during school holidays over a three year period. In 2016, a second teacher from Gumriak will be selected.
Gumriak Community School now has 170 students who comprise 8 levels /grades. When the weather permits classes are held outside. During class time a student shares her love of reading with the class.
The Sudanese American Orphaned Rehabilitation Organization (SAORO) changed its name to the South Sudanese American Orphaned Rehabilitation Organization (SSAORO) in March 2015. The new name more precisely reflects SSAORO's reality and mission, because Pariang village, in which SSAORO's Gumriak school for orphaned children is located, is in the Republic of South Sudan.
This month the students completed their 2014 classwork and received certificates and report cards. Here a Level 2 student is congratulated for his good work.
On December 9th SSAORO participated in the 5th annual Colorado Gives Day. The fundraiser resulted in several donations to SSAORO. We would like to acknowledge and thank the many kind Colorado donors, particularly those who are new to our cause.
With the addition of local children and the arrival of 25 students from Aliap ( formerly enrolled at a Mothering Across Continents school), Gumriak now serves 170 students!
Windle Trust – Girls Education Project in South Sudan
Gumriak has received a grant from the Windle Trust to engage in an educational project that will be of special benefit to the girls. In South Sudan less than 1% of girls complete primary school. Gumriak has a retention rate of 55% for girls through 7th grade. In partnership with Windle Trust Gumriak will continue to assist young, talented Sudanese girls to access education and training.
Mothering Across Continents Support
SSAORO is in negotiations with Mothering Across Continents to add 25 new students from a neighboring community, in 2015. Mothering Across Continents will fund the construction of any new facilities needed to accommodate the increased enrollment.
Current Status in South Sudan
Military conflict and political unrest continue to plague South Sudan, and Unity State. At the moment, however, peace and quiet prevail. Gumriak’s dedicated teachers and staff merit a great deal of praise for their willingness to return to and work in this challenging environment. Inflation and high prices continue to be a major concern.
Building Bridges Event
A fund raising event was held in Centennial, Colorado, on August 21st. Sale of auction items and contributions totaled almost $10,500, and yielded a net profit of over $8,000. The event was sponsored by Mothering Across Continents, the Africa Energy Conference, and Innovation Pavilion.
La Grange, Texas Fund Raiser
Fund raising efforts for rebuilding the classroom will be held in the La Grange, Texas community in September and October, 2014.
Damage from Recent South Sudan Conflicts
Two classroom buildings were damaged. One has been repaired but the other classroom that had been more severely damaged has been completely demolished by extremely high winds and must be rebuilt.
All classroom furniture was looted. New benches have been constructed from salvaged timber. As materials become available, new chairs and tables will be purchased with funds provided by Mothering Across Continents and the Rotary Club of Fort Morgan, Colorado.
The water tap was damaged and as a result many young trees planted in December died. The International Red Cross was instrumental in repairing the water tap.
Gumriak Community School Reopens
The December 2013 military invasion of Pariang village resulted in the closure and evacuation of the Gumriak school and orphanage. The school reopened on March 20 with 80 returning students (56 boys and 24 girls). By the end of April, 120 students (73 boys and 47 girls) were in school - an increase of 11 over the pre-conflict enrollment.