I managed to visited Malek Primary School today and I was amazed how the village is coming back to live. I met with Malek Primary School Principle and discussed many challenges and opportunities that are perusing.
The school has 476 students in which 305 are boys and 171 are girls. This mean that 79% of the students have returned to the Malek. The school principle said that most of the students has returned to the village, but they have not reported to the school because they either came to the village in the middle of the school term. He believes that some students specially the young one are in the village and not coming to school due to lack of school lunch. They are expecting more than reach their pre-war enrollment next years.
The school has 9 teachers paid by the government and three volunteer teachers. There are classes from First Grade to 7th grades. The school will have 8th grade next year. There are two classes for two graders.
The main building housed 4 classrooms and one room is use as an office and store for the school. They teachers are building a semi-permanent building to be use as an office. ChildFund from Korea has help them to provide iron sheet and the community provide local materials. Two first grade classrooms are under the trees because their is no extra building for them.
Students lack notebook and pens, but the major problem challenges is lack of extra classroom for the first graders and second graders. World Food Program used to provide sorghum and lentils as lunch for the students before the crisis. Now there is no lunch for the students because World Food Program is sending more food to the refugees and internal displaced people. Students leave school at noon because the young can not handle 8 hours without food at school. This is one of the difficulties that prevented students from enrolling.
I am so impressed and excited about what I had seen at Malek Primary School. When I came to the school compound, there was soccer team playing in middle of the school. It was a match between the 7th graders and 6 graders. Here in South Sudan, age does matter. You can find a 20 years old in second grade. Majority of student recognized me and asked about my family and America in general.
There was examinations taking place at the school and I could not chat with the students. The progress and determination in this place is unbelievable. People did not grow food this past season, so hunger seem to be a major problem.
Mt mother is doing great. She is busy with her vegetable garden next to the next River. She seem to have cataract in her eyes. She has some difficulties seeing things.
I will send you comprenhesive report when I come back to the USA.
Deng Ajak Jongkuch, MPH Director of Development Partners in Compassionate Care Grand Rapids, Michigan