Conflict, civil unrest, and economic crises in South Sudan have caused almost 800,000 people to flee the country. They have sought refuge in neighbouring Sudan, where vulnerable families must rebuild their lives from scratch. Islamic Relief has been running a project to support refugees in Sudan, focusing on helping almost 6,000 refugee children gain a quality education. The project in in West Korfofan involves creating new school and safe learning spaces, as well as providing children with the school equipment they need to flourish.
Elkharasana Primary School
ElKharasana Refugee Camp in West Kordofan hosts more than 12,000 South Sudanese refugees. During their journey, families endured different challenges, yet they all shared one hope: a brighter future for their children.
Islamic Relief constructed a school in the camp: ElKharasana Girl Primary School for Girls. The school’s compound has 4 buildings, consisting of 8 classrooms and 4 offices and Islamic Relief has also equipped the school with water tanks.
“Alhamdulilah (praise God) the school was fully constructed in 2019. Elkharasana School is part of Sudan’s educational system and is affiliated to the Ministry of Education – the school follows its curriculum”, says Rezg Tebeig, the school’s principal.
Before the girl’s school was constructed by Islamic Relief, 2,000 boys and girls were studying in one very overcrowded school.
“We no longer face the challenge of overcrowding and managing the classroom is now easier. I would like to sincerely thank Islamic Relief Worldwide for their great efforts in constructing the school. I would also like to thank the donors, may God reward you with goodness”, says Rezg.
“Education never causes embarrassment”
“I was very happy when I joined the school, where I can learn properly,” says Sharkous, a 17-year pupil who fled to Sudan in 2010.
Sharkous used to attend a school where the curriculum was taught in Arabic, and is fluent in the language. Now, she studies at the new school, where the curriculum is taught in English.
“I make use of the two languages so that I do not face difficulty in any.
“I am 17-years-old and might be too old to be studying in a primary school, but education never causes embarrassment. It is not important how old you are, what is important is that you get educated.”
“I wish to graduate and become a doctor. I want to treat patients for free. Money is not everything, what is important is that a human being like us lives a dignified life”, says Sharkous.
Islamic Relief’s project also involves running awareness workshops for Parent and Teacher Association (PTA) members. The workshops help raise awareness on the importance of girls’ education, as well as important parenting tips.
“I have 4 girls that go to ElKharasana Refugee Girl School. I attended a workshop at the school, and it raised my awareness of the effects of early marriages”, says Tang, a member of the PTA.
“The workshop also taught me that girls should not just be limited to house chores. They should be educated. I benefitted greatly from the workshop, and I would like to thank Islamic Relief”, he says.
A long way from home
“We were facing trouble in the South and I crossed the border to Sudan on foot. I had to walk for a week. My feet were hurt by thorns on the ground, it was a long road”, says Nangema, a pupil at ElKharasana the school who fled South Sudan in 2015.
“I don’t know what happened to my parents. I have younger siblings back home; they were very young when I left; I don’t know what they look like now”, she says, describing how she was separated from her family when they fled the country.
"I need notebooks, shoes, and a school uniform," says Nangema who struggles to afford the most basic of items.
In partnership with the government, Islamic Relief provided cash grants to 200 unaccompanied refugee children, including Nangema, to help meet their needs.
"I am happy with Islamic Relief's support. I wish to be reunited with my mother and father and for things to be better in South Sudan", says Nangema.
Education is essential for refugee communities to be able to build new lives, and help break the cycle of poverty. Islamic Relief continues to do all it can to and empower vulnerable communities, particularly those who have been forced from their homes.
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