Abara school children receive first public high school, funded by UNMISS
EASTERN EQUATORIA- Youth in remote Abara are celebrating, and with good reason: for the first time in many years, they will now be able to attend a public high school close to home, rather than in faraway Nimule or neighbouring Uganda. The new premises were funded by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and constructed by national organization Child Mentor Africa.
“Our generation had lost hope of continuing education, but today we have received the light we never thought would come,” said Joel Hakim, a youth representative currently going to a private school.
The school sports three classrooms with 58 sets of desks and chairs in each of them. It is not only expected to contribute to increased literacy but also to attract previous dropouts to resume their studies, and to encourage refugees and internally displaced persons to return home.
The need for the educational facility was evident, with the smaller and private secondary school available unable to absorb the more than 100 annual graduates from five primary schools in the area.
“We hope to see you make the most of this conducive learning environment, increased enrollment and higher literacy levels. Easy access to further education should also help reduce the number of early marriages,” said Caroline Waudo, Head of the peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Eastern Equatoria State.
“I advise parents to think of education as power. When you are educated you have the power to change lives and develop your community,” she added.
The community’s two previous attempts to establish a secondary school failed because of a combination of a lack of teachers and many people being unwilling to let further education replace early marriages and work.
“I’m 40 years old and I’m seeing this (a new school) for the first time. This is history in the making and the beginning of structural development of our area,” said Onen David Kamilo, Abara’s Head Chief.
In 2022 alone, the Eastern Equatorian branch of UNMISS has funded and handed over several completed infrastructure initiatives as part of its Quick Impact Project programme. The improvements benefitting other communities in the state include health facilities, police stations, schools and court halls.