Our Foundation Story
The foundation of Hope for Humanity, Inc. began when Jennifer Ernst was called to mission work after God sent Maker Mabor Marial, a “Lost Boy of Sudan,” into her life. She was led to mission work in Kenya and Uganda, countries which provided the Sudanese people with places of refuge during the war. At this time, Jennifer heard cries for education for the southern Sudanese people from Maker’s family and friends.
Listening to the southern Sudanese people, Jennifer and a small group of friends and family in Richmond, VA founded Hope for Humanity, Inc. in December 2004. The organization was and still is dedicated to growing educational opportunities for the future leaders of southern Sudan (now South Sudan). It was in 2005 that the vision for a secondary school was born, all during a visit to southern Sudan.
During a mission trip Jennifer Ernst, our founder, builds friendships with southern Sudanese children.
Maker Mabor Marial, a “Lost Boy of Sudan,” reunited with his mother and sister.
While funds were being raised to construct Hope and Resurrection Secondary School, Jennifer and her husband Darryl envisioned the school being handed over to either the Episcopal Church of Southern Sudan or the newly formed South Sudanese Ministry of Education. It was soon evident that neither could administer nor support the school. They next turned to the U.S. Episcopal Church to see if there were any missionaries interested in going to Southern Sudan to open the school. This is where Jim and Mary Higbee came in. They had just completed training for missionaries and were hoping that there would be a mission in the area of education. In 2008, the Ernsts and Higbees became partners in realizing the dream of a secondary school in the rural village of Atiaba.
Hope and Resurrection Secondary School opened with a freshman class called Senior 1. There were 60 students enrolled, and many were older since their education had been interrupted by civil war. Only three girls were in the first class. The staff was composed of our South Sudanese Headmaster, Anthony; a teacher from Uganda, Cleous; Jim and Mary Higbee, missionaries; and two part-time teachers from the area.
Both, Hope for Humanity Inc. and Hope and Resurrection Secondary School, have grown tremendously from its first years. The school now serves over 300 students in its thirteenth school year. Our dormitory accommodates 85 girls to live safely on campus. There are over 200 nationally recognized high school graduates from HRSS school.
Hope for Humanity, Inc. is now led by six people, comprised of our Executive Director, Board President, Treasurer, Secretary and two Board Directors. Day-to-day operations are carried out at the school through a collaborative effort among our Executive Director, Board members in the United States, the Diocese of Rumbek in South Sudan, our South Sudanese professional Administrator and Principal, the local south Sudanese Dinka community who supports the school with great pride, and an active PTA.
The foundation of Hope for Humanity, Inc. was built on friendship, answering God’s call, and fulfilling a great need. We continue to grow by building friendships as we seek to obey God’s calling for South Sudan.
We thank you for your contribution, and it will allow us to continue our mission to educate South Sudan's youth for years to come.