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Sudan: Children of Misfortune

Contact: Andrea Kaufmann, Marketing & Communications Manager, World Relief, 443-451-1900,


MEDIA ADVISORY, July 9 /Standard Newswire/ -- In a mud hut with a grass roof, the children sit expectantly – waiting for their teacher to arrive.


They sit patiently in rows... the younger children on mats at the front, the older children on benches at the back.


An hour later, their teacher has still not arrived. That's not unusual in Southern Sudan, where primary school teachers are most often unpaid volunteers. Sometimes, teachers have to miss school in order to feed their own families.


It is astonishing to witness the children's commitment. They don't want to go home. They want to study and learn.


When World Relief workers arrive at the remote village school, the children smile and sing a song of greeting.


They are so pleased to have a teacher on this day that they do not want to even break for recess. "Keep going!" they beg.


Here in Southern Sudan where the school system has been crippled by years of civil war, World Relief is training 400 primary school teachers as well as principals, working closely with local churches.


These teacher training sessions are crucial in a region where a pitifully small percentage of children has the opportunity to attend school. Girls, especially, lack educational opportunities. Most girls will not complete 5th grade.


Local churches have held Southern Sudan's fragile education system together over the past 25 years – even in the midst of war and massive upheaval. World Relief is working with the Episcopal Church of Sudan and other church partners.


"We have so much to offer in terms of training and showing the local teachers how to enhance the learning experience for the children," says Megan Laughlin, World Relief's child development coordinator.


"We face staggering challenges – many of the teachers do not speak English, for example – and that's why it is so important for the local churches to get involved."


Southern Sudan is in a time of incredible transition, emerging from war into a fragile peace.


"Our teams are stretched to the limits," Laughlin says. "The security situation in Southern Sudan is very volatile. Most of the roads are impassable. The environment is intense and it is extremely hot."


Most of World Relief's workers in Southern Sudan are Kenyans. They leave their families for two months at a time to serve the Sudanese people.


World Relief provides critical primary healthcare services for 200,000 people in the region. Without this network, the local people would have no access to healthcare.


World Relief urgently needs your support to continue to serve the children of Southern Sudan. The needs are critical and they are relying on us. Please consider making a donation today.