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Jombu Primary School
In 2008, the Missions Work Area received one percent of the congregation’s Growing Together contributions. Those funds, $20,000, along with $5,000 of the 2008 Easter Offering, were sent to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to build a school in Jombu, Yei County South Sudan. The Jombu community provided bricks and labor needed to help build the school. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) conveyed the following to us from the ground in Sudan:
"The Jombu people can not thank you enough for this gesture. This world is full of happy people - and you have contributed to their joy at Jombu. The building and community training you are providing through your gift will reach many generations."
For 25 years the Sudan has experienced political and military turmoil with conflict ensuing between the Muslim North and the mostly Christian South. The impact of the war displaced millions people as refugees or Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and caused the death of approximately more than two million people. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005 generated by the concerted efforts by various governments, primarily the U.S. Government, paved the way for restored peace and stability in South Sudan, commencing the repatriation of approximately 4 million returnees, of whom approximately 186,000 returnees in Greater Yei, through spontaneous and organized repatriation.
The prolonged war depleted the social services, material, financial and human resources needed to appropriately respond to the repatriation and re-integration needs of returnees in South Sudan, without which returning refugees will face extreme challenges rebuilding their communities. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is implementing a series of innovative and integrated education activities aimed at creating an enabling learning environment in primary schools of Yei, Morobo and Lainya Counties in Central Equatorial State, South Sudan. UMCOR envisages the proposed activities will strengthen repatriation and reintegration efforts by improving the learning environment and increasing pupil enrollment and retention. UMCOR is also working with the local Parents Teachers' Associations (PTAs) to improve their management skill. This project compliments the larger BPRM grant through the construction of a classroom block at Jombu School.
This was a joint project, perhaps one of the most significant contributions UMCOR has made in Yei by working with communities and helping them to help themselves and looking within for solutions. UMCOR, through a donation of First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove, provided funding. Inclusive in the funding from UMCOR was payment for a team of specialized workers to construct the school. The community provided sand, stones, bricks and labor needed to accomplish the task. The community did not have bricks because they had just used up their bricks for building the church and another school. For this reason, the community mobilized internal funds by taxing each resident, conducted a campaign in Juba and outside the country (Kenya and Uganda) for support from other people from Jombu to contribute. Most of the cash raised came from outside sources. Perhaps this is one of the most significant contributions that UMCOR has made in Yei by working with communities and helping them to help themselves and looking within for solutions.
Two school buildings were constructed with four classrooms in each. DGFUMC funded one of the two buildings. UMCOR also constructed one latrine and one rain water harvesting tank. The school was turned over to the government and community after completion in 2008.
The school is functioning and progressing very well. As of May 2012, 606 pupils are enrolled. During the past four years, Jombu Primary School has had a high education performance. In April 2012, the school received recognition as ‘the best primary school in Yei River County’ because of the best examination performance –100% of the pupils passed their examination. The South Sudan Government has now appointed the Jombu Primary School as an “examination center” of all primary schools in Mugwo Payam.
Even though the school performs well, it still faces big challenges. The two permanent school buildings are not adequate for 606 pupils. Currently, 195 pupils take classes under trees. Community members and teachers are discussing how to solve this problem. The other challenge is inadequate clean water for the pupils because the rain water harvesting tank only functions during the rainy season and is also used by the community around the school.
Funding was approved and disbursed to the field in March 2008. Community mobilization for the construction of the school started earlier in February 2008. Training of the PTA was also conducted by UMCOR. A total of 62 PTA members were trained; 55 were men and 11 women. Following the training of the PTAs, specific responsibilities were identified and allocated to both UMCOR and the local community. All the project contributions were also quantified. The community contributed about $15,000 in-kind.
Additional In-Kind Material Resources
The community provided bricks, river and building sand, hard core and labor.
The project is expected to increase access to education opportunities by improving the learning environment. This would ultimately increase pupil enrollment, especially of girls.
If you zoom into the map below, you can view the school buildings from the satellite image.
God, as known to us in Jesus Christ, welcomes all.
We welcome people of any race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, social or economic status, employment status, or life situation; including people with physical or mental illness or disability.
Affiliated to Reconciling Ministries Network