Santino Yuot, a leader of the South Sudanese community in Australia, approached indigo foundation to support a teacher training and school renovation project in his homeland village of Wedweil in Aweil State, South Sudan. Like many refugees living in Australia, Santino and the organisation he founded and represents, the Dinka Literacy Association, care deeply about their community back home.
Wedweil faces staggering challenges. Infrastructure in Aweil State has not been rebuilt since the previous civil war, and 92% of its people live below the poverty line. Many people have never experienced proper schooling and within Wedweil approximately 10% of children have attended primary school, and there are no secondary schools in the area.
The school in Wedweil was built prior to 1965 and badly damaged during the war. It had no roof and the local community had gathered grass and tree branches to create some protection. But school was called off in hot and rainy weather. In 2015, indigo foundation funded a new roof, which means that students can now be in enclosed classrooms in all weather. Already school numbers have increased from 400 to 500 children and young people.
But the needs are great. Our priority in 2016 has been to build separate male and female toilets – the first toilets at the school. And to organise teacher training to overcome the deficiencies in teacher training.
There are no government resources currently available – the South Sudan Government has indicated its commitment to health and education but does not have the financial reserves to implement programs. Consequently, the Dinka Literacy Association has asked indigo foundation to work with them to assist the Wedweil Development Committee, a group formed by the local community to bring people together to improve the conditions of all Wedweil citizens.