When thousands of Sudanese families returned to White Nile State in Sudan from South Sudan after the two countries separated in 2011, the sudden influx of children quickly overwhelmed schools in the border areas. The OCHA-managed Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) has helped keep children in some of the most vulnerable communities in class.
Since the countries separated, more than 50,000 people, including about 20,000 children, have settled in White Nile State. Many of these people are semi-nomadic pastoralists, forced by ongoing insecurity to settle in areas that are difficult to access and where basic services, particularly education, are limited.
In 2012, Plan Sudan and War Child Holland received close to US$590,000 in CHF funding to support primary education in the White Nile localities of Eljabaleen and Elsalem where more than 6,000 returnee children need access to education. The projects helped restore educational facilities, build up the teaching capacity of volunteer and professional educators, and set up Parent Teacher Associations.
“We are very much aware of the importance of education for our future and our children’s future,” said Mohamad Silia, a voluntary educator in Dabkaraya El Bahar village, one of those supported by the CHF-funded project.
“The parents of these kids have returned from urban and semi-urban areas of Upper Nile state in South Sudan,” he explained. Dabkaraya El Bahar is less than one kilometre from the border with South Sudan.
Education is an often-neglected sector in emergency response, because it is not always perceived as life saving. However, parents in the community fully appreciate the need for safe, secure schools, quality materials and well-trained teachers. “Parents understand that ensuring regular and uninterrupted learning opportunities for their girls and boys is essential,” Silia noted. “In fact, as you might have noticed, the classes in this community’s school have many more girls enrolled than the surrounding schools.”
The disruption of education affects all children, but girls are often particularly at risk: general insecurity may expose them to violence, particularly when commuting to and from school, and parents may pull them out of school to help with farming activities, earn money, or care for younger siblings.
The CHF was established to provide fast and predictable funding in humanitarian emergencies. Learn more about how CHF is addressing the most urgent humanitarian needs and critical gaps.