‘All for One’ – a joint initiative in Leer empowers South Sudanese children to choose education over conflict
UNITY - In conflict-affected Leer, a county in South Sudan’s Unity state, some 2,000 children - and counting – found inspiration and resources for a brighter future, thanks to a project spearheaded by peacekeepers from Ghana serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
The ‘All for One’ project, intended to be an annual occurrence, amalgamated 12 schools across five payams [administrative division] in Leer County to distribute essential items – tables, chairs, educational materials, sanitary items, laundry supplies, dignity kits, and even football boots!
Additionally, the project recognized efforts of local educators by offering rewards to exceptional teachers from each school.
While laughter and high spirits abounded, 16-year-old Malual Ruai Malual was eloquent in her excitement.
"This is not something that we expected but was such a welcome confidence booster for all these children here. I know that if we study hard, we can be leaders in our community one day," she said, reflecting the joy of thousands of her peers.
“To know that people want to help us and see us succeed motivates us to try our very best and make sure we finish our education,” she added.
The teachers, who relentlessly overcome adversities and setbacks to educate the county's younger generation, expressed their gratitude for the supplies. These resources alleviate some of the everyday challenges they face, allowing them to focus on what truly matters: teaching.
One of the biggest smiles on the day belonged to John Keung Biel, a teacher.
"These gifts are a godsend to our students. They serve as a powerful reminder to them that their education truly matters,” he reflected.
Coordinated by Ghanaian peacekeepers, the ‘All for One’ project is a group effort, drawing support from peace and development partners such as Medair, Hope Restoration South Sudan, Unidor, Nile Hope, Healthcare Foundation Organisation, Samaritan's Purse, and Médecins Sans Frontières.
"Education empowers individuals to contribute to the progress of their communities, fostering social harmony,” said Grace Tshuma, Medair Program Coordinator.
The initiative earned high praise from Simon Riak, the County Director of Education.
"This show of support, symbolized by books, provides a pathway to recovery. The items handed over to the selected schools have rekindled hope, emphasizing that education is indeed the foundation of a peaceful and prosperous future," stated Riak.
Ghanaian Blue Helmets, who have spent over 10 months in the Leer community, stood tall and proud. Along with the humanitarian agencies, they delivered a potent message of solidarity to students and teachers.
"Our aim is to create a substantial impact on the lives of children, nurturing a love for learning, and empowering young minds to overcome adversity. We remain steadfast in our commitment to collaborate with other organizations to advance these goals through this project," affirmed Lieutenant-Colonel Prince Tandoh.