Empowering Communities and Recruiting Teachers
The first step in any HELPSudan program is to locate a community that requires HELPSudan’s assistance in achieving their goals. This is principally done through relationships with people in Sudan and accepting proposals from community leaders. HELPSudan also assists communities in building teams of qualified leaders, teachers, and administrators through interviews and financial support.
We also hope to partner with other organizations in the area, combining areas of expertise to help communities thrive.
HELPSudan is currently researching communities in need of assistance to determine where the next primary school program will begin.
Thianwei Primary School was started under a tree in 2006. HELPSudan helped the community of Thianwei, a village 15 km East of Bor, organize to build 11 tukels (mud hut classrooms) and recruit 13 volunteer teachers until funds were raised to support them.
HELPSudan then supported the growth of Thianwei in 2007 by interviewing and selecting qualified teachers and providing funding for eleven teachers, one headmaster, one deputy headmaster, and three cooks.
One year later, with an enrollment of over 1,000 students, the government recognized the success of Thianwei Primary School and agreed to pay teacher and administrator salaries. This ensures the long-term sustainability of the school and allows HELPSudan to focus on providing a permanent school building to replace the tukels.
Students often choose to attend Thianwei Primary, even if they live miles away, due to the quality of the education being provided. Many schools rely on village elders to teach classes, even if they do not have an education themselves. By ensuring that the teachers at Thianwei are qualified, students are guaranteed an enriched learning experience.
Providing Fresh Water
It is estimated that 80% of all illness in Africa can be prevented through the provision of clean water and mosquito nets. While these are not typical “school supplies”, they are essential components to providing a quality education in Sudan.
Wells are constructed near school sites in order to provide students and the surrounding community with a source of fresh, clean drinking water.
HELPSudan partnered with Penykou Agency For Relief And Development (PARAD), a local organization that has provided services for many relief agencies in Sudan including the UN, to construct a water well on the campus at Thianwei Primary School.
This well provides water for the students, people in the surrounding community, and local livestock. It is also used in the preparation of student meals at Thianwei Primary and is an essential component of the brick-making process.
Construction of Permanent School Buildings
HELPSudan’s first school, Thianwei, was started under a tree and has grown into a campus of 12 mud huts (tukels). The local community volunteered their efforts to construct the tukels in order for the students to have a proper place to study. However, the walls require major repairs every year as well as the roof needing to be replaced annually. As the number of students has grown, so has the need for permanent structures.
Once schools demonstrate sustainability within the community, HELPSudan will assist them in attaining permanent structures. HELPSudan will provide the materials, equipment, and training necessary for the community to manufacture bricks. Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) are manufactured from a mixture of local soil with approximately 10% Portland cement, thereby increasing the sustainability of the buildings and reducing materials cost. The bricks are strong, and in addition to creating jobs, the program reduces the cost from $3.50 to purchase a pre-fabricated brick, to $0.50 per brick produced locally.
The bricks can then be used to construct permanent buildings in place of the tukels, utilizing corrugated metal roofing instead of the current thatched roofs. We will strive to find less expensive and more sustainable building methods in the future, which will increase the ability of the local communities to expand the construction projects on their own, utilizing the technology to start businesses and build their own homes.
Jok has worked with the community elders at Thianwei to put together a plan for producing the bricks for a permanent school building. The result of those meetings has been a partnership where HELPSudan will provide the brick making machines, supplies, and a construction crew to erect the buildings with the bricks made by the community, while the elders gathered the community and agreed to pay the workers to produce the bricks.
This has had the effect of creating 90 new jobs immediately, 30 workers per day in a 3-day rotation. Currently, the workers have produced over 2,000 bricks, and production rates continue to increase beyond 200 bricks per day. We will need 10,000 bricks by the end of April in order to begin construction on the permanent structure at Thianwei before the rainy season begins.