Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Picture this…you live where people survive on less than a dollar per day, where there’s the lowest adult literacy rate in the world at 27%, where only 1/3 of children who enroll in primary school will complete school, where 1 in 7 women have a risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, and where 1 of 9 children will die before they reach the age of five. This is South Sudan. It’s the newest nation in the world as of 2012, and despite decades of civil war and ongoing unrest, there’s still hope.
This hope comes from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the opportunity for education. But hope often brings with it work to be done. The health care and educational systems, as well as many other segments of society, were decimated during years of conflict. Significant rebuilding efforts are needed which entail an educated and skilled workforce.
To build this workforce so that people are lifted out of poverty and have a chance to improve their lives requires the basics – an opportunity for education. Only 37% of the population above the age of six has ever attended school. Only 44% of children are enrolled in primary school and only 1.6% attend secondary school. Children living in rural areas (like Terekeka) suffer the most – 58% are not enrolled in school. And these numbers are all prior to the most recent conflict which caused many schools to close.
The opportunity is there. Young people are hungry for the word of Christ and an education so they can serve as the future leaders of South Sudan. Leaders who can occupy highly visible political positions or serve as the heads of businesses and locally in their churches, hospitals, schools, small businesses, and independent farms and in their families. They are the future of South Sudan. They are the change the country so desperately needs.
We hope with them and pray for this opportunity and for peace.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. – 2 Peter 1:3-8