Communities in Kuron Peace Village welcome handover of an UNMISS-funded secondary school
“Kuron is synonymous with peace. It symbolizes peaceful coexistence and development for diverse communities who live in this remote part of South Sudan,” said Paride Taban, Bishop Emeritus, Catholic Diocese of Torit in Eastern Equatoria, at a ceremony marking the handover of a secondary school block funded by the UNMISS Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme which is managed by the mission’s Relief, Reintegration and Protection section.
“This new school will not only benefit the residents of Kuron, but also our neigbours from the Boma, Kachipo, Jie and Murle communities living nearby,” continued the Bishop Emeritus as he thanked the UN peacekeeping mission for ensuring children here can continue their education.
The four-unit school block is the first secondary school building in Kuron and consists of classrooms, an office wing and toilet facilities. This $ 50,000 project is expected to educate some 400 pupils cutting across ethnic backgrounds. “It is my hope that learning together at this secondary school will enable students from different communities to understand the most important lesson—peace and progress is beneficial for all South Sudanese,” averred Marino Najie, a traditional leader residing in the area.
For his part, Anthony Nwapa, Acting Head of Field Office, UNMISS Torit, stressed the importance of education for girls. “Women constitute 50 per cent of any society. Therefore, there can be no sustainable peace if girls are not educated or if men and women do not work together to usher in development. I urge all Kuron communities to stop early and forced marriages and send their daughters to school instead,” he stated.
Mr Nwapa’s views were echoed by local authorities from Kapoeta who were also present at the event and regularly collaborate with community and religious leaders in Kuron. “Educating all young girls and boys is a collective responsibility. We will, as representatives of the government, of course provide the school with assistance, stationery and additional teaching staff to boost learning,” said Sarafin Ayoma, Director-General, State Ministry of Education.
Since its inception in 2005, the Kuron peace village has fostered reconciliation and peace between the Jie, Murle and Toposa communities who previously fought over issues such as cattle-rustling and child abduction. Bishop Emeritus Taban is the founder of this remarkable village. His vision was to encourage different ethnic communities to live together as one people. Years later, Kuron stands tall as an inspiration to many across the country.
The secondary school is one of 23 QIPs funded by UNMISS in Eastern Equatoria since 2012. Past projects have included the construction of water sanitation facilities, courthouses, medical centres, police posts and water pipelines.
This project was undertaken in collaboration with Ateker Foundation-South Sudan (AFSS), a national nongovernmental organization.