In South Sudan, women have primary family responsibility and the least education and financial support.
Thank you so much for your interest in the Mothering Across Continents Women at the Center project started by Dr. Ann Evans, the inspiring project champion and advocate for its long-term impact. Ann's joyous bond with the village of Old Fangak, South Sudan, has evolved over several years into the thriving Old Fangak Community Primary School and a sustained effort to support girls, women and members of the local Women's Association. The spirit of "Women at the Center" is front and center of all activities. We are currently seeking support for a fence to enclose and protect the Women's Center building ($6,000) and a large community garden to be managed by local women involved in the Women's Association and Women's Center ($4,000). Read on to find out more about Ann and her commitment to empowering women (and girls) in Old Fangak, South Sudan.
Literacy, Numeracy and Small Business Training
In addition to nearly 1,000 children served at the Old Fangak Community School, a full slate of accelerated primary school education is provided to more than 200 adults. Yet, few of the adult students are women, and even fewer are members of the Women's Association. In a country as poor as South Sudan, women have full days of household responsibilities and are often family breadwinners who gather grasses to sell. Consequently, many have only the most basic education or none at all. The Women at the Center project has initiated free Basic Literacy and Numeracy classes to Women's Association members and other women whose children are enrolled at the community school. The classes can be taken at the Women's Center building. Yet, to hold onto the building for the long-term, a fence must be funded and installed - one cultural sign that the building is first and foremost a space for education and the women.
Small Business Classes and Micro-enterprise Loans
Members of the Women's Association are keen to take classes in the fundamentals of business management. Rebecca (pictured at the right, below, with two of her daughters) is a prime example. She manages a successful local restaurant business that could be improved and serve as a model for other local restaurants managed by women. In Old Fangak, key small business opportunities include sewing, but also restaurants and small agriculture projects related to the restaurants. All require training and micro-enterprise loans. By empowering Women at the Center through Basic Literacy and Numeracy (above), as well as funds for a fence to protect the center and a garden/agricultural project (below), a thriving women's small business community becomes sustainable.
Supporting Gardens with Cash Crops
With support from Rise Against Hunger in 2018, we were able to establish a demonstration garden that is now successfully growing onions and okra, both of which are cash crops in the Old Fangak area. These funds help support special projects associated with the Old Fangak Community School and Women's Center. Based on this learning experience, the next step is to establish a large community garden managed by women on the property that joins the Women's Center building and Old Fangak Community School property. With donations for a fence (Total: $6,000), seeds and small farming tools for the garden, and a start-up loan (Total: $4,000), it's possible to create a sustainable garden that women can manage and from which they can experience partially building up a micro-enterprise loan and training fund for the Women's Association.
Women at the Center is a project of US 501c3 nonprofit Mothering Across Continents