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Nov 1, 2017
Category: Support Stories

This year, FIGS have created Christmas Cards designed by the artist, and FIGS supporter, Beverley Thornley. Below, you can view the design of the card, inspired by the school logo on the front, and with details of the school on the rear of the card.


Christmas cards come with 10 cards in each pack, of the single design shown above. Packs of cards cost £5 each (plus postage) and can be ordered NOW by contacting Jackie Fry at


Oct 13, 2017
Category: Support Stories

179. Hopeful Not Hopeless

I have sometimes been asked what hope is there for South Sudan? Tribal divisions have become very deep, and almost everybody has lost relatives and friends in this senseless violence. Amnesty International quotes a staggering, horrible statistic:

A survey conducted in 2015 by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found that 72% of women living in four UNMISS Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites in Juba reported having been raped since the conflict broke out, mostly by police and soldiers.

Has all respect and order disappeared? 

Certainly as one local writer, Jacob Lagu, states:

‘War is a dirty business. It inevitably degrades us all. It diminishes our humanity as steadily as we dehumanize our adversaries. We are all locked in conflicting victimhood narratives. Each side believes wholeheartedly that they are the victims of injustice. Each side believes that their adversary is the unrepentant aggressor.‘

It seems to me that civil war must surely be the worst kind of war. In a civil war, your enemy is not ‘out there’ but can even be your near neighbour. South Sudanese now ask, ‘Whom can I trust in my own country?’ Where can I go and be safe?’ Hundreds of thousands ask, ‘Will I ever be able to leave this Protection of Civilians camp where I feel like a prisoner?’ 

Yet, in spite of all this, there are people getting on with life. I have attached photos that show the reality of the poverty of many in South Sudan – poor, but not maudlin.  Children dressed in rags laugh and play and there are some fine young people growing up – with a little help along the way. In early 2010, a good friend in Australia raised some money to help a young, thin boy, called Augusto. Augusto’s father had died when he was only 18 months old. He was being raised by his grandmother – and the helpful families of his school friends. Augusto’s school fees were paid by overseas donations. Augusto has now just graduated from secondary school with a 73% average, a wonderful achievement giving the personal adversity he had to overcome let alone the turmoil in the country. Now he is trying to find the means to go to University.

Another of our neighbours, Naomi, is soon to graduate as a registered nurse from our Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI). Her twin brother, Wonderful, (yes, that is his name), is well on the way to becoming a doctor. There are 80 applicant seeking places in the CHTI for next year. There are currently 110 in the CHTI and so far 145 have graduated after successfully completing the three-year programme. So amid the tales of gloom, there are many good news stories, many lives that are progressing well.

In another photo taken in 2009 there is a small boy called Danny sitting next to Fr Joseph. Last Saturday, I woke to find our vehicle had a flat tyre. I called Danny who quickly changed the wheel for me. He has one year to go to finish secondary school: he has grown from a happy, inquisitive young boy, into an obliging, sensible young man. There are plenty of signs of hope as we help produce better educated people. Sadly, many South Sudanese have to learn to live with hunger and the trauma of rape, looting and deaths of loved ones, but they still get on with life. We help them when we can, as do almost 500 missionaries from many countries as well as the UN and many resourceful NGOs delivering essential services.

There is hope because children and young people are especially resilient. Yes, the scars are deep and, in the trauma healing workshops we conduct, many older people reveal their nightmares and flashbacks. But somehow the children in South Sudan are among the happiest and least complaining I have known. One does not feel hopeless here. Many people continue to hope and dream of a better future. A new, better-educated generation might just deliver the new South Sudan for which we all hope and pray.  

- Br Bill


Oct 9, 2017
Category: Support Stories

As a Friend of Ibba, you join hundreds of others all looking to give, volunteer and fundraise -- to be true friends to the girl students at Ibba for life. Read two of our Friends' stories below. 

"One of the best experiences has been hearing from the girls themselves via Skype!"

I first came across Ibba Girls School while I was working for an NGO in Coventry. John Benington was liaising with the NGO regarding support for the girls' dormitory. Upon reading about the school, I was inspired by John's passion and commitment to the project and wanted to get further involved. Having worked in NGOs and as a fundraiser, I realise the funding need for charities working overseas. It is becoming harder and harder to access grants and gifts from governments and unrestricted support from friends and supporters means charities can direct money to where it is needed most, while working in some of the toughest conditions. This was an additional inspiration for me to provide any help I could, both in terms of my expertise and via a regular gift. South Sudan is the world's newest country and yet its spirit and optimism has to work harder to re-build and re-skill. Girls especially have not been able to access education for at least a generation. 

One of the best experiences since getting involved with Ibba has been hearing from the girls themselves - via Skype! 'I want to be a politician', 'I want to be a teacher' - every girl has the ambition to change their life and change the future of their country, in large ways and small. I've also got my husband, Phil, involved in supporting Ibba and he has been able to bring additional people on board to help out.

We also decided to commit to leaving a gift in our Will to Ibba. Many more generations of girls may have come through Ibba's doors by then but we are sure that a legacy gift, albeit modest, will play a part in the School's continued success. 

Natalie Rothwell, September 2017

Natalie and her husband Phil, both pictured in the photo above, are monthly givers to the School. They also recently decided to leave a gift in their Will to Ibba, so that future generations of South Sudanese girls can receive an education. To book in a confidential, preliminary chat about leaving a gift to Ibba in your Will, email Chernise at Or become a Friend of Ibba Girls School by setting up a monthly standing order at today. 


"A new beginning which has the potential to make a difference"

It all started with the Wick Hill Mountain Rescue (WHMR). What is that you may ask and what on earth has it got to do with Ibba? Well, I didn’t know either until I moved into the village of Icomb, near Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire and I was invited to join the WHMR – an excuse to have a beer down the pub once a month on the pretext of carrying out serious training in case someone got into trouble and needed rescuing when walking on the nearby Wick Hill (as likely as winning the lottery!).

On my first “session” I met John Benington and, in conversation, I explained to John that I had recently retired and was looking to do charity work. “Don’t worry”, he said, “you will do”!

Shortly after this fateful event, John told me the story of how he had met Bridget Nagomoro and why he had agreed to help her establish a school in Ibba. He asked me if I would help him set up the charity: or whatever form it should take as we did not know at that stage. I was hooked and the rest is history as they say.

This was back in 2010; and since then I have been privileged to have been involved right through from those early days to serving as a Trustee and Treasurer, eventually stepping down in 2014 due to family commitments.

My involvement now is as a donor (by regular standing order as I know as former Treasurer how important it is to be able predict future income with some certainty); and, recently, by passing on an inheritance I received from my late mother (whose father: a good man, but one who did not believe in girls’ education along with many men of his time); the school’s annual Big Give matched funding campaign; and by cycling with my sons, David and Jonathan, from Haverfordwest (Pembrokeshire) across the Brecon Beacons and Cotswold Hills to Icomb in two and half days: a total of 175 miles; and an ascent of 15,000 feet.

The Ibba story is compelling. Yes, there are many worthwhile causes. What sets Ibba apart for me is not just the commitment and generosity of all the people involved, starting with Bridget herself, but the sense of a new beginning which has the potential to make a difference; and the concentration of resources in a single point, like a shining star and a beacon of hope in a land currently in turmoil. Let’s also not forget the girls themselves, their commitment and desire to make a difference in their lives and in their country. They deserve our support.

Eric Shepley, September 2017

A huge thank you to Eric Shepley for the significant part he has played in the school's start-up phase, and for his ongoing generous support. If you would like to find out more about our story, visit our 'What We Do' page. If you might like to fundraise for the School (thank you!), please get in touch with Chernise at And to yourself become a regular donor, visit to begin a monthly standing order.  
Oct 4, 2017
Category: Support Stories
Jul 14, 2017
Category: Support Stories

Budding entrepreneurs Lila and Danya, both aged 10, recently organised themselves to sell recycled pens to children in their Year 5 group at Brunswick Primary School, to fund school supplies for the students of Ibba Girls Boarding School, South Sudan. 

Lila first heard about Ibba School from her dad, who works in South Sudan, and told her best friend Danya. They became interested in the issues facing girls in South Sudan at the age of 10, which is how old they are -- and the age at which many South Sudanese girls begin to drop out of school due to health and security concerns, poor educational standards, pressures to marry early, and domestic and childcare duties. They were keen to support the girl students at Ibba Girls Boarding School, who enrol from age 10 onwards to receive a high-quality education in a safe, caring residential environment, with the support of their parents.

The enterprising duo spoke to the other children in their year group during an assembly, and advertised their campaign on posters throughout the school. They saw a great result, with everyone "being really helpful making donations and buying lots of our stationery".

Above: The two budding entrepreneurs wrote to tell the girl students at Ibba what they had been up to

Lila and Danya were delighted to raise -- and we were thrilled to receive -- £25.62 in donations from their efforts. These funds will now provide the school supplies needed for 10-year-old Ibba girl students to learn skills to thrive as entrepreneurs, and to contribute to the future development of South Sudan.

Jul 7, 2017
Category: Support Stories

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu is a staunch supporter of Ibba Girls Boarding School, with his wife Margaret as one of the patrons of the Friends of Ibba Girls School (FIGS). 

Recently approached for comment on the school, Archbishop John said, “The work that the IBBA School is doing in South Sudan is life-changing. Giving girls an education will empower them so that they can make a real difference, in their own lives, their communities and nation. I heartily support it!”

Jun 21, 2017
Category: Support Stories
Jun 19, 2017
Category: Support Stories

As many of you know, the founder of Ibba Girls School, Bridget Nagomoro is currently in the UK studying for her Masters in Development Management with The Open University.

The main focus of Bridget’s determination continues to be to improve the education of girls in South Sudan. She has been instrumental in encouraging girls in the Ibba and Western Equatoria region to go to Ibba Girls School. As you know many different factors keep girls out of school; some are married as young as 12, and decades of civil war have made education difficult; leaving nine out of ten girls illiterate.

Right now, we currently have 130 girls at Ibba Girls School, but we want to enroll 360 students in the next few years. It’s a huge leap forward, and The Open University’s MSc in Development Management will provide Bridget with more of the key skills to deliver a high-quality education, find sponsors for the girls and expand the school. Each stage she completes – certificate, diploma and then the full MSc – will provide Bridget with even better tools with which to change more lives.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support and interest; as Ibba School’s most generous supporters you have been absolutely crucial in getting the school to this point. I hope you can join us in taking the school to the next stage. If everyone who receives this e-mail gives just £2.00 we will raise the £11,274 needed to fund Bridget’s scholarship and continue to make a difference to the young girls that need it most. 

To donate please visit

May 25, 2017
Category: Support Stories

The Trustees, Governors and Friends of Ibba Girls School, South Sudan want to give our warmest thanks and appreciation to the Zhejiang Wonder Public Foundation for your generous support for the building and development of Ibba Girls School.

Your regular philanthropy is enabling us to complete the building programme for classrooms, dormitories and other facilities over the next 5 years, and this will eventually enable the education of 360 girls per year between the ages of 10 and 18.

This is just a small drop in the deep ocean of need in South Sudan but the school is already sending out ripples of influence across the country. Most importantly it is helping to transform and empower these young women, preparing them for leadership in their communities and chosen professions in this newest nation on earth. 

We thank and applaud your Foundation for this wonderful legacy. 

May 10, 2017
Category: Support Stories
Mar 3, 2017
Category: Support Stories

POPE FRANCIS used his first visit to the Anglican chaplaincy in Rome to an­­nounce that he hopes to visit South Sudan with the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­­bury.

Feb 21, 2017
Category: Support Stories

Address of HE the President on the Occasion of the Opening of the Transitional National Legislature of the Transitional Government of National Unity, 21st Februry 2017.

Dec 6, 2016
Category: Support Stories
Nov 21, 2016
Category: Support Stories
Nov 11, 2016
Category: Support Stories

Avelino Androga Said article.

Oct 31, 2016
Category: Support Stories

S. Sudanese religious leaders meet Pope

Oct 6, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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.

When girls are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous.
First Lady Michelle Obama


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."

Will you join us?


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:

WATCH Bridget and the school in our film, below

JOIN our community of Friends of Ibba Girls School by signing up for e-news here

CREATE a safe haven by sponsoring the school's nurse, matrons, security guards and other support staff from £14 a month here

GATHER with us at our Annual Supporters Day in Coventry on Sat 26th Nov 2016. RSVP here

Sep 28, 2016
Category: Support Stories

Unity State, South Sudan - Fierce fighting in her village in Unity State, kept 18-year-old Susan away from her school in Juba for more than a year. But even those girls who are able to attend often have to travel for hours to reach school.

Jul 15, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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:


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:

"Dear Chernise,
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. 
Best wishes,


15/7/2016 Things are looking more positive today for Jean and her three walking companions:

"Dear Chernise 

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.
Best wishes,


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:

"Dear Chernise

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!
Best wishes,
























16/7/2016 After a rough start, the weather has continued to improve on Jean's trek, and was very good indeed today.

"Dear Chernise

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. 
Best wishes,




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:

"Dear Chernise 

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. 
Best wishes,




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. 
Best wishes,

Jul 13, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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.

Jul 4, 2016
Category: Support Stories
Jun 24, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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.

Jun 22, 2016
Category: Support Stories


Poems  inspired by Greece  & Africa by Margaret Eddershaw

Jun 11, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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.

Click here to make a donation, and leave Jean a personal message of support.

May 25, 2016
Category: Support Stories

UK Trustee John Benington celebrates his 75th Birthday with a heartfelt appeal.

May 25, 2016
Category: Support Stories
May 20, 2016
Category: Support Stories


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!

Apr 29, 2016
Category: Support Stories

Join us for a poetry reading in aid of Ibba Girls School, Wednesday 18th May in Covent Garden.

Apr 10, 2016
Category: Support Stories
Mar 24, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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.

If £27 a month is beyond your reach, monthly donations of £5, £10, or whatever you are able to afford, are also very helpful. Sign up online or by post.

Thank you very much for all your generous support. We wish all Friends of Ibba Girls School a very happy Easter!

Mar 8, 2016
Category: Support Stories

Pledge for Parity on International Women's Day | 8th March 2016

Mar 7, 2016
Category: Support Stories


  • 50 years of war have devastated lives and communities, and disrupted the schooling and skills of generations of South Sudanese people - especially girls
  • Only 1 in 3 girls currently get to go to school at all in South Sudan – the 8th lowest primary school enrolment in the world
  • Of those who do go to school, most girls drop out around 10, because of family duties, domestic labour, childcare or early marriage/ pregnancy
  • South Sudan has the highest level of maternal mortality in the world, and one of the highest levels of infant mortality (67.5 per 1000 live births)
  • By the age of 15 a girl in South Sudan is more likely to have died in childbirth than to be in secondary school.


  • South Sudan faces many political, economic and social challenges, following its independence in 2011 after 50 years of war with the largely Arabic Muslim North
  • It has one of the fastest growing populations in the world, with the second highest fertility rates (7 children per woman in the population), but one of the lowest life expectancies (57 years).
  • South Sudan has the lowest economic growth rate of any country  (minus8.4%) and one of the lowest GDP’s per person, highest consumer price inflation (12.9% annually).
  • The economy is heavily over-dependent upon oil (98% of GDP) and defence (8.8% of GDP) and much too low expenditure on health (2.2% of GDP) and education (0.7% of GDP – the lowest in the world)
  • Ibba Girls School is a small beacon of hope in this darkness


  • Education is one of the proven paths to peace, healing deep conflicts
  • Education for girls is a particularly productive investment in the future
  • Teach a woman to read and she’ll inspire her children, her friends and neighbours, and get the whole village buzzing.
  • Educated girls learn about personal and public health, and help to reduce maternal and infant mortality
  • Educated girls contribute to social and economic development by learning and sharing their skills in running small business enterprises
  • Educated girls help to cultivate the cultural life of the community through music, dance, drama, arts and crafts.
  • Educated girls contribute actively to peace making by appreciating   other people’s histories and points of view, and not escalating conflict
  • Women are key to fighting poverty, to promoting peace, and to raising educational and living standards


  • Bridget Nagomoro’s dream (below) has inspired us to think big and aim high – to build and develop a school in South Sudan which will act as a beacon of hope for disadvantaged and impoverished girls, empowering them with the knowledge, skills and values to become the leaders of their communities and of this newest nation
  • Nagomoro Bridget was the first girl from Ibba ever to have had schooling beyond the age of 10, in the history of the human race
  • After graduation from University in Uganda, she went to work in Juba for the government of the newly emerging Republic Of South Sudan
  • When Bridget’s father died she inherited the family land in Ibba, and had a dream calling her back to Ibba to use the land to build a school so other girls could have the same opportunity. (Read her story and watch the video at
  • On July 22 2008, sitting beside the Nile in Juba, Bridget told Professor John Benington (who was leading a workshop for government officials) of her dream and asked him to help her translate the school into reality.
  • In June 2009, Bridget invited John to visit Ibba, to meet local community leaders and to discuss plans for the school – the first of many such visits and discussions in Ibba over the next few years.
  • In 2010 Bridget returned to live and work in Ibba, soon being appointed as Commissioner for Ibba County.  Trustees and Board of Governors were appointed to steer Ibba Girls Boarding School (IGBS),   including representatives from the state government, churches, teacher training college, the paramount chief, and UK Trustees  
  • Our plan is to build a boarding school for girls aged 10 to 18, in 9 stages, with an intake of 40 ten year old girls into Primary 4 each year until Feb 2022, when the school will reach its initial target of 360 girls.
  • The school is designed to serve the needs of girls across the whole of Western Equatoria State, and provide a home for people from all tribes.


  • In Oct 2011 Friends of Ibba Girls School (FIGS) was registered as a UK  charity, with a number of Patrons and Trustees with knowledge and experience in finance, law, girls education, evaluation and South Sudan.
  • Architect Malcolm Worby has been appointed to design the 73 acre site and buildings on green and sustainable principles, using local materials and labour as far as possible – mud bricks; indigenous wood; solar energy
  • So far FIGS has been able to raise over £500k in donations from over 600 generous individuals, churches, schools, and small family trusts. 
  • This has financed the building of the first classrooms, dormitories, staff accommodation, kitchen and toilets, plus solar powered water pumps, solar electricity, a 4x4 vehicle, and satellite internet
  • Ibba Girls School was opened to its first 40 girls in June 2014, and now has 83 students, in Primary 4 and 5, with an excellent team of African teachers, matrons, cooks, a nurse, cleaners and security staff
  • A strong leadership and management team has been appointed -  Head-teacher Richard Aluma; Director of Studies Vicky Dratia; Finance Manager Sonaa Santino; and classroom teachers Yoane and Agnes. 
  • We plan to enrol the next 40 ten year old girls in Feb 2016, so are all working hard to raise funding to build and furnish an extra dormitory, wash-block, assembly hall, and hire an additional teacher and matron. 


  • IGBS aims to provide high quality education rooted is core Christian values, and open and welcoming to people of all faiths and none
  • We aim to provide access to all girls with the potential to learn, whatever their background, status or finances.
  • The school aims to cultivate skills with ”both the pen and the hoe”
  • – both academic and vocational knowledge.  We grow much of the school’s food. 
  • We follow the South Sudan curriculum but supplement it with other cultural activities like dance, drama, sport and debating.


  • Continued political and economic volatility in South Sudan means that the first priority has to be to make sure that students and staff can study and live in safety and security. Detailed measures are in place at IGBS.
  • IGBS is a drop in the ocean of need, but is already sending out strong ripples into the families and local communities from which the girls come.
  • The school is already seen as a small beacon of hope in the darkness of South Sudan, a practical demonstration of good schooling, and of what peace might look like in practice.
  • IGBS and FIGS are working carefully with the state government, the churches, NGO’s, local communities and other schools to try to share our learning through knowledge exchange with other schools, and to act as a hub and catalyst for wider social and economic development.
  • We are exploring the potential for developing a number of co-operatives and small enterprises to help generate income for the school e.g food; fish farming; honey; livestock; woodworking; repair trades. 


  • Join the growing network of Friends of Ibba Girls School, who support the school and its students by volunteering time, expertise, or money 
  • Sponsor a cohort of students through their schooling – sign up to a standing order for £27 per month 
  • Run, climb, eat, swim, surf, sing, pray, and organise lively events to raise funds for the extra school classrooms, dormitories, teachers and matrons
  • Visit Ibba with one of our FIGS teams of volunteers, to work shoulder to shoulder alongside the African staff and students
  • Contact us and find more details at


Mar 7, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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.

Generous individuals

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.

Charitable Trusts

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.

Student Sponsorships

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!

Mar 7, 2016
Category: Support Stories

Celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women on International Women's Day.

Feb 17, 2016
Category: Support Stories
Feb 17, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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

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!

Feb 16, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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!

Feb 15, 2016
Category: Support Stories

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.

Do also share your green-wearing selfies with us on Facebook or Twitter, or email them to FIGS volunteer Zsofia Preddle at

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!

Feb 12, 2016
Category: Support Stories
Dec 21, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Nov 25, 2015
Category: Support Stories


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):

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

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

Nov 22, 2015
Category: Support Stories

FIGS Annual Meeting  - 21st November 2015

Nov 14, 2015
Category: Support Stories

Rising 15 Exhibition

Nov 13, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Nov 5, 2015
Category: Support Stories

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.

  • FIGS is running a workshop on girls education on Wed Nov 11 from 4pm till 5.15pm in Coventry Cathedral, with 4 Sth Sudanese speakers – Jacob Lagu, Josephine Yanga, Pamela Lomor, Ntyakor Riam
  • We have a private meeting with Gordon Brown on Thurs Nov 12
  • Book your place at the conference at

4 options :

  • £350 for the full 3 days including gala dinner on Nov12. (FIGS has reserved 5 places at an early bird rate of £295. E-mail for the reservation code)
  • Day rate £79 (not including gala dinner)
  • Individual sessions £35 (FIGS has been allocated 10 free places at our session on the Wed afternoon)
  • £10 for the plenary sessions - Gordon Brown etc
Nov 4, 2015
Category: Support Stories

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


Nov 3, 2015
Category: Support Stories

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).

Oct 24, 2015
Category: Support Stories

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 before 11th November 2015

The programme will include

  • Light buffet lunch on arrival
  • A review of latest developments in South Sudan and Ibba
  • A video and Skype call with students and staff at Ibba Girls School
  • Stories from several South Sudanese people living in the UK
  • Margaret Eddershaw performs her latest African poetry (buy her book)
  • Mark Simmons, chief exec of CORD, on education for peace-making
  • Progress reports from FIGS Trustees on the building programme, students and staffing, school development, finances, and fund-raising
  • Donors (small and big) and volunteers (big and small !) discuss how and why they pport IGBS
  • Opportunities to sponsor IGBS students for their schooling.
  • Sign up for our Big Give event on Dec 4 and 5 2015
  • Buy FIGS Christmas cards
  • Join us for an (optional) curry from 5.30pm onwards



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:



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,  We need to know numbers for the meal by 11th November at the latest.

Oct 22, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Aug 18, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Aug 14, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Jul 7, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Jun 11, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Apr 1, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Mar 25, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Feb 17, 2015
Category: Support Stories
Nov 2, 2014
Category: Support Stories
Oct 17, 2014
Category: Support Stories
Oct 13, 2014
Category: Support Stories
Oct 12, 2014
Category: Support Stories
Aug 24, 2014
Category: Support Stories
Jul 10, 2014
Category: Support Stories
Jul 9, 2014
Category: Support Stories

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!

May 2, 2014
Category: Support Stories
Feb 7, 2014
Category: Support Stories

THE Archbishop of Canterbury, visiting South Sudan, amid political instability and in the wake of violent clashes, has urged reconciliation.

Nov 4, 2013
Category: Support Stories

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.

Oct 21, 2013
Category: Support Stories
Jul 21, 2013
Category: Support Stories
Jul 15, 2013
Category: Support Stories
May 15, 2013
Category: Support Stories
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