The world community is quickly realizing that educating girls is critical to economic development, the health of individual families and the security of nations.
The faculty at Hope and Resurrection Secondary School (HRSS) embraces this necessity, encouraging the girls to assume leadership positions, speaking boldly in class and participating in after-school activities such as debate and sports. The female teachers visit girls’ families and encourage them to invest in their daughters’ education.
Our focus on girls’ education in a coeducation environment is changing South Sudan’s cultural norms. In a country where girls are not educated and sold into marriage very young, our female students are becoming convinced of their created value and self-worth, boys are learning that girls have equal value, and the villagers are championing the importance of education for all children. (South Sudan ranks six in the top 10 countries with the highest child-marriage rates according the 2015 UNICEF report, “State of the World’s Children”.)
The most effective way to keep girls in school is to allow them to live safely on the campus grounds. Freed from the daily burden of fetching water, cooking for the families, and caring for younger children our female students now have time to devote to their studies. The girls’ dorm was built and opened in 2013 and was constructed to be self-sustaining. It is enclosed with a fence and has separate rooms for our school matrons. A hand-pump well installed on the dorm campus provides easy access to clean water. Within two months of completion there were more than 40 girls living in the dorm, and today it is filled to capacity with over 80 girls. Girls’ families or sponsors pay approximately a $150 per semester boarding fee which covers food and personal items. For girls who are orphaned or do not have a sponsor, Hope Garden, gives the girls an opportunity to grow vegetables and sell in the market to support themselves.
From a few of our female graduates, in their words,
Rebecca, age 20:
"Completing secondary education will enable me to be an instrument of peace because now I know what is right and wrong."
Martha, age 19:
"In my family, there are 13 children, and I am the only girl to complete Senior 4. In school, I learned conflict resolution skills and I am now closer to God because of the spiritual activities in our school such as morning devotions, prayers and Bible study."
Josephine, age 18:
"I will take the initiative to advise parents to know the importance of secondary education. When I have children, I will send them all to school. My teachers have taught me respect for self and others."