‘We will help our nation’

Thursday 30 January 2014

Mary, 14, was born in Sudan during the civil war between South Sudan and Sudan, and lived there until she was around nine years old when she, her mother and older brothers returned to their village in Aweil East county, Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.

14-year-old Mary with her classmates at a school supported by Save the Children Education in Emergencies programme in Aweil East, Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, South Sudan (Helen Mould/Save the Children)

When she was living in Sudan Mary never went to school so she was very happy when she finally got the chance to start school three years ago. She is currently studying at Baac Primary School which is supported by Save the Children who trains the teachers, supplies textbooks and other learning materials, and have improved the management of the school through Student Advocacy Teams and Parent Teacher Associations.

“I was very happy when I joined this school,” Mary said. “At the start I found things difficult because I had never been in a classroom before, but now I feel more confident because I have more knowledge and I am enjoying coming to school. My favourite subjects are English, maths and religious education, and when I finish school I would like to be a teacher.

“My mother and brothers will assist me to finish school. My mother is not an educated person but she knows that education is important. When you are educated you can help yourself, you can help other people, and you will help your nation.

“Some girls stop going to school because they get married and then they cannot continue with their education. This happens to a lot of girls in my age group but I would encourage other girls not to drop out of school and would tell them to stay in school and not to get married early.

“As an educated person I will be able to advocate for peace; when I meet with other women I can talk about peace and how as women we can promote peace in our communities.”