Avelino Androga Said article.
S. Sudanese religious leaders meet Pope
Thank you so much for your donations to Ibba Girls Boarding School.
Your gifts have helped to build a functioning and flourishing school, where 120 girls can safely learn and grow.
Esther, pictured above, is one of the very few girls in South Sudan with the chance to complete secondary education. In her country, only 1 in every 3 girls can access primary education, and even so that one girl is likely to drop out when she is around 10 years old. The reasons are many: a long dangerous daily walk to school; malaria or other tropical illnesses; traditions about menstruation; pressures to help the family with collecting water and firewood, and with looking after younger children. By the age of 15 she may well be married and pregnant herself.
By senior 4, the final grade of secondary education in South Sudan, there are only 2,000 young women left in school nationwide.
Yet, in a country devastated by war, it is education - to a high standard, in a safe environment - that will unite, heal and elevate a nation. As Esther learns, with other girl students from across Maridi state and the whole of the former Western Equatoria State, her community benefits. The UNDP reports that "women's empowerment helps raise economic productivity and reduce infant mortality. It contributes to improved health and nutrition. It increases the chances of education for the next generation."
As Esther seeks to continue learning up to Senior 4 to get her School Certificate, and IGBS aims to open its doors to another 240 girl students, they need you to stand with them. If you agree that education is not a lucky privilege, but a right; if you want to see girls' lives changed by education; and if you want to help build peace in this fragile nation, then please:
FIGS Trustee Jean Hartley set out on 10/7/2016 to trek from Oberstdorf to Merano, a 126km walk along the Alpine E5 route involving over 5,000m of ascent, in aid of Ibba Girls Boarding School. She will be sending us regular updates, so do keep checking back on this page to see how things are going for her. If you would like to sponsor her trek in aid of the girls at Ibba Girls Boarding School, visit her giving page here: http://ow.ly/wyOU302cV6p
14/7/2016 Unfortunately Jean has had to alter her planned route, due to unusually bad weather. Read how the start of her trek panned out in her own words, below:
Update on the walk.
We have had to change our walking plans due to exceptionally severe weather with heavy rain and snow and with the paths closed by the authorities.
We arrived in Oberstdorf in sunny weather but knowing it would not last. We decided to walk to the first hut, stay overnight and come back to Oberstdorf on the second day. But our plan was foiled. We set off on the 5 hour walk and after a couple of hours it started raining heavily. We pressed on and were about an hour from the mountain hut when the path went under several impromptu waterfalls. We splashed through the first two but at the third there were rocks and stones coming down with the water so we turned back. On the way down streams were turning into raging rivers and one we had crossed only an hour before was impassable. We walked a long way upstream to cross it.
We got back to Oberstdorf safely and have now gone to the southern part of the Alps near where we are due to finish as the weather is due to improve earlier here. Overnight we have had snow.
Chernise I will send a couple of photos.
15/7/2016 Things are looking more positive today for Jean and her three walking companions:
We are having a great time so have overcome the disappointment of the changed route after months of planning.
Here is something from yesterday.
We have found 2 small apartments on a farm in a remote valley in the Italian part of the Alps. The village is called Scaling. (This is the German speaking area of Italy). The weather is not great yet so we woke up to snow on Thursday and walked up the valley in a snow shower. We walked right into Switzerland and stopped at a mountain hut for coffee and brilliant apricot strudel.
Photos to follow: A) Brigitte crossing the Swiss border, and B) Near the mountain hut.
Jean sent through a second update on Friday, complete with a photo of her in her FIGS T-shirt at the (very cold) summit of a mountain called Watles:
On Friday we had an easier day and went up a local mountain called Watles doing the first part by ski lift. It was a very cold day with a strong wind so it was full gear including hat and gloves. We got wonderful views from the top. The photos show me wearing my FIGS T shirt. I briefly stripped down to T shirt but as you can see I kept my gloves on!
16/7/2016 After a rough start, the weather has continued to improve on Jean's trek, and was very good indeed today.
On Saturday we woke up to a blue sky at last. Hurrah! The sky was nearly as blue as the flowers in this photo. We walked high up on the shoulder of a mountain and then crossed over into Switzerland again. We walked along an Alpine valley relishing the sunshine and then walked through a steep canyon where the path had been cut into the rock. Quite spectacular - see photo.
19/7/2016 It's the last day of Jean's planned trek today, and they've actually been able to complete a portion of the route as originally intended - but her intrepid group haven't quite had enough yet, and may still do another walk before leaving tomorrow! Here's Jean's update:
For our final day of the Alps walk we decided to do the final day of the original route. So we started at the finishing point which was by a beautiful lake (see photo). The walk up to the Similaun Hut was a steep and unrelenting climb which took 4 hours. We all felt the altitude towards the end and arrived out of breath. We ordered apple strudel at the Hut but initially were too tired to eat it! The Hut was on the Austrian border with glaciers a stone's throw away. (see photo) We returned the same way and we are now in Merano and have tried out the thermal pools here.
We are all fit and healthy after lots of walking in all kinds of weathers over the last week. We may do one more walk tomorrow before returning home.
21/7/16 Having spent the past week walking in the Alps, Jean reflects on her journey:
"What is a footpath? I have been thinking about this quite a bit as we have walked up, down and around mountains over the last week.
On one level a footpath is a physical feature in the landscape and is characterised by absence of vegetation, or where the ground has been worn down.
On another level a footpath is a gift between people. By walking on a path one gains ease of movement and direction from people who have gone before and whose imprint on the earth shows the way. And by walking oneself one maintains the path and this is a gift for the people who walk that way later. A footpath is about human connectedness.
FIGS Chair of Trustees John Benington received the Times/Sternberg Active Life runner-up award on Tuesday 12th July, presented at 11 Downing Street by Michael Sternberg QC (left in photo), representing his family foundation. The award was presented, among other reasons, in recognition of John's work on setting up Ibba Girls Boarding School. John (centre in photo) was accompanied by Dr Pamela Lomoro (right in photo), a fellow FIGS Trustee. There is a snippet with more information here.
On Thursday 7 July, London will be hosting The Girl's Education Forum organized by DFID, Chime for Change and Global Citizen. It aims to catalyse increased focus, ambition and momentum around girls’ education as part of gender equality. This evening promises to be an exciting night filled with interest talks and experince from inspirational speakers. Followed by benefit concert - headlined by Tom Odell at The View from the Shard.
Tickets can be purchased here.
HALCYON DAYS & DESERT NIGHTS
Poems inspired by Greece & Africa by Margaret Eddershaw
FIGS UK Trustee, Jean Hartley is walking across the Alps, from Germany through Austria into Italy this summer, with the aim of raising funds for Friends of Ibba Girls School. Starting in Obersdorft in Germany and ending in Merano in Italy, the walk is one of the most dramatic and challenging Alpine walking long-distance paths. It involves a route of 126 km over 7 days, staying in mountain huts and involving a total of 5,100 metres of ascent. We wish Jean the best of luck throughout this journey.
UK Trustee John Benington celebrates his 75th Birthday with a heartfelt appeal.
Friends of Ibba Girls School (FIGS) is delighted to announce that the Zhejiang Wonder Public Foundation, from Zhejiang Province, China, has made a generous donation of USD135,000 to cover the costs of constructing a dormitory and washroom block this year.
This dormitory and washroom block will enable our third cohort of 40 ten-year-old girl students, who have recently started Primary Level 4 at Ibba Girls Boarding School (IGBS), to stay at the school safely and securely throughout their nine years of education right up to completing Senior Level 4, the final grade of secondary schooling. They will not have to risk long and sometimes dangerous walks to and from school, or to face the pressures of heavy domestic chores, early marriage and childbirth.
Left to right: Ludia, Regina and Olivia, who is the matron for the Primary 4 cohort of girl students
Instead, while on-site at the school, the girls will be supported by full-time pastoral staff and security guards, nourished with three meals each day, and taught all the subjects in the national curriculum to a high standard by qualified teachers. They will also no longer have to share Dormitory 2 with the Primary Level 5 cohort, as they have been doing for the past two months. The students’ parents will continue to visit their daughters and communicate with them, to serve on the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), and to welcome them home to share their newfound knowledge with friends and family during the school holidays.
In a country with just 2,000 young women in Senior Level 4, the final grade of secondary schooling, these ten-year-old girls will therefore be able to receive an undisrupted full nine years of education, and will graduate with their School Certificates at age 18, equipped for further study, entrepreneurship and positions of leadership in South Sudan.
A number of Friends of Ibba Girls School have commented that this is a group that “gets things done” – a reputation which we intend to continue to uphold! Here, therefore, are some photographs of the dormitory foundation being dug and laid, and starting to be built upon.
Photo: The dormitory foundations dug, and moving bricks into place
Photo: The dormitory foundations laid, and walls starting to be built
To the Zhejiang Wonder Public Foundation, we would like to extend a heartfelt “谢谢” (pronounced “xie xie”, which means ‘thank you’ in Mandarin) for the high value that you place on education, and in particular for your generous support of the Ibba girl students. Please come and visit both us in the UK, as well as the students in Ibba, sometime soon!
Join us for a poetry reading in aid of Ibba Girls School, Wednesday 18th May in Covent Garden.
A big thank-you to all of you who responded quickly to our call to Pledge for Parity on 8th March 2016, International Women’s Day, by sponsoring girl students at Ibba Girls School.
This may seem like a drop in the ocean of need. However, with just 2,000 girls in the final grade of secondary education across the whole of South Sudan, every single girl student who is supported to continue their learning changes lives, increases opportunities – and promotes gender parity in South Sudan.
We are aiming to find donors to support each and every one of Ibba school’s (current) 120 girl students. In particular there is the new Primary Level 4 cohort of 40 girl students including Julliana, on whose hopeful faces you can see a tremendous hunger to learn.
In this part of war-weary South Sudan, Ibba Girls Boarding School may well be these girls’ best means of completing primary and secondary education, and graduating with a School Certificate at age 18.
This Easter, please choose to start a Student Sponsorship, standing in solidarity with these girl students as they start down their long hard road to hope, and enabling a brighter future for their country.
If you would like to become a Student Sponsor, please sign up online or by post to give £27 a month (about the cost of a mobile phone subscription), and support a girl to live and to learn at Ibba Girls Boarding School today.
Thank you very much for all your generous support. We wish all Friends of Ibba Girls School a very happy Easter!
Pledge for Parity on International Women's Day | 8th March 2016
THE HARD ROAD TO HOPE FOR GIRLS IN SOUTH SUDAN
THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CHALLENGES
PENCIL POWER: LITERACY CAN LIBERATE LIVES
BRIDGET’S VISION BY THE NILE: HOPE THROUGH EDUCATION
FIGS: FIRST FRUITS
SHARING THE LIGHT OF WISDOM ON THE JOURNEY
BETTER TO LIGHT A CANDLE THAN CURSE THE DARKNESS
SUPPORT PENCIL POWER: HELP A COUNTRY TO HEAL
Big Give: over £53,000 raised!
Thank you very much to our 96 supporters who pledged and donated in the Big Give 2015. If you have not yet heard, the closing total was over £53,000, all of which goes towards building new facilities, particularly a dormitory, for the school and girl students this year. It was wonderful to see so many of you giving and securing match funding for your donations. We would like to thank the Deus Laudamus Trust for your unstinting support, especially to its chair Tim Royle, who made a dedicated effort to ask his friends to take part in the Big Give also.
A huge thank you to those of you who have generously given as the school has reopened for its third year of running. Since January we have received over 20 one-off donations or gifts in kind from individual supporters, ranging from £1.50 via text giving to £316.15 sent over from Norway, as well as laptops, mini-dictionaries, and a microscope for science lessons! Some of these were in addition to regular monthly giving – thanks to each of you for giving the new and returning girl students this welcome. Of course, many of you also Wore It Green to stand with the students – it was wonderful to see all your green photographs, Tweets and Facebook posts.
We are delighted to thank the AB Charitable Trust and the Joyce Carr Doughty Trust for their recent grants of £10,000 and £18,350 respectively, the former for unrestricted expenditure, and the latter towards the construction of the school’s food store and the purchase of bicycles and a boda-boda (motorbike) for staff use. We are grateful for our relationships with Trustees at both organisations, who have been so wonderfully generous in supporting the school in some of its areas of greatest need.
If you would like to begin a Student Sponsorship this International Women’s Day, particularly to support one of the 40 new girls at IGBS, there can be no better time. Simply arrange to give £27 a month via Virgin Money Giving, or fill out our donation form and return it to Treasurer Gary Bandy at Clover Cottage, Stubbins Lane, Chinley, High Peak, SK23 6AE. (Please use this address instead of the one on the donation form, as Gary is currently in the process of moving house.)
Each of our Student Sponsors receives reports twice a year on their cohort of girl students that they are supporting, including photographs, stories from the girls recounting their experiences at the school so far, and comments from Director of Studies Vicky Dratia. We are also planning to include the students’ essays and artwork in future, and would love to share these with as many of you as possible – so please do join in and sponsor the girl students!
Celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women on International Women's Day.
FIGS Trustees John Benington and Jean Hartley stand with staff and students, all wearing their green school shirts at Ibba Girls Boarding School
Today we mark the third year of running of Ibba Girls Boarding School, and celebrate with the 120 girl students, spanning Primary Levels 4 to 6, who will receive an education there this year.
Not just any kind of education, but one in a safe residential environment, free from the distractions of domestic chores, early marriage and childbirth, and long and dangerous daily walks to and from school. A holistic education allowing each girl child to study every subject in the South Sudanese national curriculum, including agricultural skills and basic health education. An education that gives these girls the chance to fulfil their tremendous potential, in a country where fewer than 1 in 6 women is currently literate.
If you are standing with these girl students by wearing a green item of clothing today, we would love to see your selfies on Facebook or Twitter – or you can email them to Zsofia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you would like to become a student sponsor, to see a girl student through education to School Certificate level at age 18, please sign up here today to give £27 a month.
A huge thank you to you, our generous supporters, who make days like today possible. May there be many, many more school re-openings!
Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) have just recently released this video, which gives a timely insight into the dire context in which schools in South Sudan continue to operate, amid continuing unrest in some parts of the country. Fewer than 1 in 6 women are literate, and nationwide in 2015 there were just 2,000 women in the final grade of secondary education.
The video shows Richard Arden, Senior Education Adviser with the Department for International Development (DfID) saying, “South Sudan needs to have its education systems developed […] even through this difficult time, so that eventually, there can be systems that the government is leading, owning and responsible for, in collaboration with private and faith-based institutions and NGOs.”
As Ibba Girls Boarding School (IGBS) re-opens for its third year of running, providing 120 girl students with a safe residential environment in which to learn, we invite all supporters to stand with the school tomorrow, Wednesday 17 Feb, by wearing a green item of clothing to match the girl students’ school uniforms. More information can be found here.
Join us tomorrow to mark this milestone and celebrate with the students!
The girl students at Ibba Girls Boarding School are back and raring to learn.
Ibba Girls Boarding School is successfully re-opening for a third year, and has enrolled an additional cohort of 40 more girl students, bringing the school’s capacity to 120 in three classes spanning Primary Levels 4 to 6.
Most students existing and new have now arrived at the school, and here you can see them wearing their green school uniforms with pride, and holding their new textbooks which many of you, our supporters, have generously provided. Other girl students continue to arrive, some having travelled for 5 or more hours over dirt roads through unsafe areas, with their entire family on motorcycle.
We invite you to mark this milestone of the school re-opening and expanding, by wearing a green item of clothing – some socks, a shirt, a funny hat, etc., or even an entire outfit! – this week on Wednesday 17 Feb.
A huge thank you to those of you who so generously give – time, skills, energy, and money – to fulfil these girls’ dreams of an education. We are really excited to celebrate with you!
Following the success of last year, we are again taking part in the Big Give, the UK’s biggest match funding campaign, starting on Friday 4th December 2015 at 12 noon. Any donation of between £5 and £5,000 at this time will be matched pound for pound while funds last, and all donations and match funds will go towards building the next classrooms, dormitory, and assembly hall, and other essential infrastructure – so that Ibba Girls Boarding School can take in two more cohorts of girl students in 2016-17.
You can view our project and make your donation here (match funds only go live from 4th December 12 noon): https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/FIGS
Click here to view step by step Big Give donation instructions and Frequently Asked Questions.
Match funds will be available on a first come first served basis from Friday 4th December 2015 at 12 noon until funds run out, or until the campaign closes at 5pm on Monday 14th December 2015, whichever is sooner. So do book Friday 4th December at 12 noon into your diary now, to have the best chance of doubling your donation to the Ibba girl students at https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/FIGS.
As with last year, if you intend to give between £500 and £5,000, please would you notify us, so that we can predict how much is likely to be raised. You can do this, or ask any questions that you have, by emailing Chernise on email@example.com.
FIGS Annual Meeting - 21st November 2015
Rising 15 Exhibition
This international conference focuses on new ways of thinking about peace and conflict in a turbulent world (jointly organised by Coventry City Council, Coventry University and Coventry Cathedral). Speakers include Hilary Benn and Gordon Brown, and many others.
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Congratulations to Jane Hill for organizing a lovely evening of Jazz at the Kineton Sports and Social Club. We’re really grateful to those at St. Peter’s Kineton and our other FIGS supporters who came along and raised £350 in total.
Thanks to everyone who responded so generously to Mariam’s story. Kate Pinder and Eric Shepley each gave £1,000 and many more of you donated to give a total of £3,800 so far, with other gifts still coming in.
We say thank you to the congregation at St. Barnabas’ Church in Southfields (under Ian Tattum’s leadership) for a kind donation of £425.
We continue to be very thankful for the generosity of all of you, as Friends and supporters of the girl students in Ibba. It is your gifts that keep the school open, safe, and developing
– THANK YOU!
Pamela has a Doctorate in materials and mechanical engineering from Liverpool and Leeds Universities, and currently works as a subsea engineer in the oil and gas industry.
Born in Juba in the late 70’s to educated South Sudanese and Ugandan parents in a large family, she attended a fee paying catholic nursery and primary school in the earlier years of the second civil war. Pamela’s parents heavily emphasised and encouraged equally their male and female children to pursue excellence in education.
When in the late 80’s the civil war intensified, Juba bore the brunt of intense artillery shelling, general insecurity and food scarcity. During this time Pamela and her mother were able to escape the fighting and find refuge in the UK where her mother had studied during the 50’s, leaving behind her siblings and her father.
Growing up in East London to a single mother and being separated from the rest of her immediate family had a profound impact on Pamela, channelling her energy instead into studies and competitive athletics (including marathon running)
In 2004 at the dawn of the peace agreement that ended 21 years of the civil war, Pamela travelled to South Sudan for the first time since leaving as a child, where the late SPLM/SPLA leader, Dr John Garang impressed upon her the significance of the diaspora skills and education in rebuilding South Sudan.
This trip marked the beginning of her personal journey towards promoting education initiatives in South Sudan.. Recently she has been appointed a Trustee of the UK based girls’ education charity, Friends of Ibba Girls School, South Sudan (FIGS).
Join us in Coventry on Saturday November 21th for the Annual Meeting for friends and supporters of Ibba Girls School, South Sudan – starting with snack lunch at 12noon, and lasting till 5:00pm (with tea and coffee breaks). More details below.
Sign up to reserve your place (and for the optional Indian meal afterwards – see below) by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org before 11th November 2015
The programme will include
VENUE AND DIRECTIONS
The venue for our Annual Meeting this year is Warwick Road United Reformed Church, 10 Warwick Row, Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 1EX.
This is within 5 minutes walking distance from Coventry rail station, and close to city centre parking. NB For a car parking map of the City Centre see: http://www.mappery.com/maps/Coventry-Tourist-Map.jpg
LUNCH AND SUPPER
A light buffet lunch will be available on arrival at 12noon, and tea and coffee mid afternoon. The cost will be £6.20 per head. Pay on arrival.
We have also booked an (optional) meal at Akbars Indian restaurant at the end of the Annual Meeting. The meal will be at 5.30pm, in a private room at Akbars, which is close by, at 7-9 The Butts, CV1 3GJ (just opposite the Ramada Hotel)
This meal will also serve as a fundraiser for FIGS, where the restaurant will be giving a percentange of the final bill to Ibba Girls School. It will be a lovely way to spend the evening, together with friends. The cost will be £16 per person and will include a variety of different curries, rice, popadoms and nann breads (plenty of veggie options).
Please book up in advance by e-mailing email@example.com, We need to know numbers for the meal by 11th November at the latest.
On 9th July, the second anniversary of independence of South Sudan, many volunteers held individual events at work to raise awareness of FIGS. Cake sales helped to draw the crowds (and money) and volunteers informed colleagues of the work of FIGS and how they could get involved. These small events raised over £200!
Totality, FIGS’ marketing partner, ran a week-long exhibition where they created a huge board explaining the Ibba project. Director Nick Jones also recently used a climbing trip to the Alps with his son to help raise money and spread the word about FIGS.