Thanks so very much for your interest in Women at the Center. From humble beginnings, including a gathering of women from the community of Old Fangak, this project begun by Dr. Ann Evans has grown to inspire the local community and people well beyond South Sudan. Grinders to make it easier to prepare meals were the first simple gift from "Dr. Ann" to the women. This began a conversation about the role of women and how to bring education to them and their children in a country often described as among the most fragile in the world. From a joyous bond emerged a women-led event that cleared thigh-high brush from a half-completed building. When construction on the building finished it became known as the "Women's Center." A movement for education in Old Fangak was born.
A Focus on Women Created Momentum
Early in the development of the Women at Center - South Sudan project, more than 400 women gathered for initial, informal literacy classes. These classes are essential for women to pursue small business opportunities that can lead to sustainable income. Over time, the overwhelming connection between lack of education in general and persistent challenges of conflict, poverty, hunger and illness have been apparent and pronounced. The Women at the Center project vision expanded to include building a primary school and classrooms that now serve 1,300 children. In 2017, by agreement with the local community, 50% of new students are girls. When UNICEF representatives visited, they described the Early Childhood Development program, classes and materials as a "model from which everyone can learn."
More Basic Literacy, Nutrition, School Development Needed
At the Old Fangak Primary School, teachers receive regular training; lesson plans are aligned with the national curriculum and textbooks; and a daily meals program is in place. But there's more to do. For instance, middle and upper level classes need many more desks. Uniforms would add a level of pride that can add to overall discipline and progress in learning. The addition of supplemental classes in nutrition, health and hygiene can positively change life overall. In essence, the Women at the Center - South Sudan program began with education for women, now supports the community's children, is expanding to a holistic approach, and is intended to be a model for the extended community overall.
Women at the Center is a flagship project of US 501c3 nonprofit Mothering Across Continents