In the world’s youngest country, Tabitha and her friends are the first generation to be growing up as independent South Sudanese citizens. She is determined to do well in school and graduate to become a doctor – a much needed skill in her community.
Tearfund’s partner ACROSS, a local Christian organisation, is helping Tabitha achieve her goals through a program improving the quality of education delivered through government schools. Recognising that the government school system was struggling in rural areas, ACROSS has been equipping schools with teacher training and support, gender awareness training, water and sanitation facilities. They also train volunteers to become ‘school mothers’ who encourage school attendance and support students’ wellbeing – essential when families traditionally need boys to tend cattle and girls to help grow food.
It’s making a clear difference to Tabitha’s eagerness to achieve. Every night when her chores are finished – the dishes washed, the grain pounded, water collected, and the younger children settled – Tabitha pulls out her homework books and completes her work by torchlight. With such dedication, she finds the work achievable, even in the midst of busy family life.
With ACROSS also working in her community to improve health outcomes and food production, as well as address entrenched conflict after decades of war and civil conflict, Tabitha and her family can hope for a life that is peaceful and secure.