Meet Hellena, a typical young woman at HRSS, who is studying English, math, chemistry, geography, history, agriculture and religion. She is also typical in the tremendous obstacles she faces to become educated. In her own words:
“We are generally a poor family with seven children, four boys and three girls. My parents are cattle keepers who own a few cows in the cattle camp where the boys look after them. The only education that my parents know is about rearing cows. Women in our culture are beasts of burden. We fetch water, collect firewood, prepare food and care after the young ones-- the traditional work of young Dinka girls. We have very many duties at home compared to men, who look only after cattle purposely for marriage.” (In order to raise enough cows for a marriage dowry.) “But I am the lucky one, the only one from my family in secondary school.”
Hellena describes how her life changed even more after she moved into the new girls’ dorm:
“Before I joined the school dormitory, I would leave home at about 6:00 am, braving the hostile subtropical savanna woodlands of our area, and reach school at 8:30 am or later, especially on days of walking. At 3:35pm I would leave school and reach home at 6:00 pm. I always felt tired from the long distance travel. Imagine, I had no time to read my books, no chance to consult my friends or my teachers. Thanks to Hope for Humanity, Inc. and our donors, we now have higher education, good teachers, textbooks, a dorm and lunch.”
Whether Hellena becomes a teacher, aid worker, or goes on to university like some of her fellow female students, her family's current status has improved significantly and her future children are more likely to become educated and remain healthy.