Mariam, in the Primary level 5 class at Ibba Girls Boarding School (IGBS), is dignified, quietly hopeful, standing tall and thoughtful amid the giggles and screams of her classmates. This is her story, as told to classroom teacher Yoane Kumbonyaki.
"At home I used to be given lots of housework to do, and early in the morning, I would do a lot of it before I went to school. This always made me late for school. In my old school, the teachers did not teach in a way which could improve my life. When I first arrived at Ibba Girls Boarding School (IGBS), I did not know how to read words.
Mariam, front row second from left, with the rest of her class on Opening Day at IGBS last year. Teacher Yoane, who interviewed Mariam, is in the centre
But here at IGBS, the teachers can teach, and I can understand them well. School materials are provided for us, and each of us has our own place for keeping exercise books, pens and other items. In the classroom, we have posters of different words, for us to improve our reading and speaking ability.
I also like this school because we are not allowed to fight or quarrel with one another. And here I just need to wake up early in the morning to prepare myself and go to class. We have plenty of time to study and play with friends. Now I can speak English much more than before. I can read many English words and write some of them."
By age 15, South Sudanese girls like Mariam are currently more likely to have died in childbirth than they are to have completed primary school. Yet the UNDP says that women’s education and empowerment help to raise skills and productivity, improve health and nutrition, and reduce infant mortality - all goals which will help this newly independent country get on its feet.
An education at Ibba Girls Boarding School (IGBS), in a safe environment conducive to learning, is key to transforming the life chances of girls and young women like Mariam, and to impacting future generations.
IGBS has so far been able to welcome 83 girl students to the school. But to keep providing the quality of education that these girls need, in a safe, caring environment, we are asking you to help us by taking one or more of the following steps:
- Text PENCIL to 70660 now to donate £5 - giving a student stationery for one month
- Set up a standing order of £10 a month - to provide a student’s educational resources, such as textbooks, for a year
- Set up a student sponsorship of £27 a month - to provide for a student to live and learn at the school for a year
- Consider making a one-off gift - £500 pays for a year's salary for a security guard, giving safety to the girl students and staff in the school compound
98 percent of all supporters’ donations go directly to the school and girl students in Ibba. So every pound that you give does count - please will you enable Mariam, and her fellow girl students at IGBS, to get the education that they need?
Help Mariam and other South Sudanese girls like her to get the education that they need today.
Mariam and her friends will only be children once - they can’t be kept waiting for a good education that might or might not come along. Text PENCIL to 70660 to give £5 for a girl student’s stationery now, make a one-off gift, or sign up for a standing order or student sponsorship - and ask your friends to do the same.
If you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; you may also like to view our short film about the school here. Please partner with us to empower the girls and young women of South Sudan.