Sudan is a complicated, political nation and, as such, there are many young people missing out on educational opportunities that the rest of us take for granted every day. The willingness to learn is often not enough in a war torn country, which is why Sudan needs the help of external organizations for it to build its future. Peacemaking initiatives are reaching out to students and offering them a chance to rise above conflicts in their home country. Banaa.org is becoming crucial to education in this region with its skill-building program that empowers Sudanese students who have suffered deprivation and overcome atrocity.
Banaa is Overcoming Barriers
Through work with international organisations, barriers to education have begun to come down. Banaa plays an important role in this, with GW University program leaders working with campuses around the U.S. to promote the idea of scholarships for underprivileged students in Sudan. In Southern Sudan almost half of school children were not able to access basic learning facilities and drop out rates for girls were particularly high in primary school. Banaa understands that Sudan is a nation caught up in conflict and that this is caused by a variety of regional problems that need addressing. Education is at the heart of a nation; without it that nation does not have the ability to grow and to thrive. This is why Banaa focuses on Sudan and on enabling disadvantaged young people to receive the education they deserve. Internationally, a Peace-building, Education and Advocacy Programme (PBEA) has been formed, with an emphasis on countries like Sudan, and will run until 2015, with a focus on education within countries at risk from horrific conflict. UNICEF claims that ‘access of quality education is a right that should be sustained even in the most difficult circumstances’. Education has a knock on effect to a country’s economic and social climate and therefore needs to be supported on a continuing basis. By recruiting young people with their own peaceful vision for Africa’s future, Banaa is working towards developing highly skilled graduates in the U.S who will then return to Sudan armed with technical and practical skills for leadership.
Funding projects exist in Sudan that will ensure that primary schools are built in South Sudan and that girls and women are included in all opportunities available. Projects focus on sustainable education that helps the community and ultimately the local economy, building leadership skills in students and empowering rural communities that have not been given the educational choices they need. Banaa takes this a step further by encouraging independence among Sudanese students, thus reducing the need for dependent assistance. The unique approach of giving scholarships to undergraduates and basing them in the U.S removes these young people from areas of conflict and equips them with the skills they need to take back to Sudan when they are ready.
Health Issues Affecting Education
Health issues are often a factor in education drop out numbers in Sudan. Gender inequality is often caused by girls and women having babies during their education, but there are other factors that are significant in the fall in numbers from Primary to Secondary and University education in Sudan. Malaria and typhoid fever are common on rivers and in areas where sanitation may be poor and these diseases occur in Sudan. A laboratory test is needed to obtain a proper diagnosis before medical treatment can be sought. The South Sudan Ministry of Health is working to ensure that quality practice relating to tests is carried out in laboratories to avoid misdiagnosis of these diseases. Regular health checks in Sudan can help to avoid the spread of disease and ensure that children who care for sick parents or who might become sick themselves can attend school and university and not miss out on their valuable education.
With factors in Africa being addressed on a continuing basis, the most important issue remains sustainable education for future generations of Sudanese youngsters. By focusing on providing scholarships to students through U.S university programs, Banaa is taking important steps to educate victims of conflict and arming them with the skills they need to become future leaders of this country.
A new fan of Banaa not to be mistaken with Eve Gray!