A Shared Vision for Education

A glance at South Sudan’s and Kenya’s Education systems

In a world driven by knowledge and innovation, education stands as the cornerstone of progress and development. Every nation strives to provide its citizens with a solid educational foundation, but the path to achieving this goal varies greatly from one country to another. 

South Sudan and Kenya share a common vision of education for their populations: to provide their citizens with quality education. While the path to achieving this goal may differ, the commitment to learning and progress remains unwavering.

Today, let’s compare the contemporary education systems of these two nations South – Sudan and Kenya.

South Sudan’s Education System – As Observed By HOPE for Ariang Foundation

Limited Infrastructure:

  • According to UNICEF, only 48% of schools in South Sudan have access to clean water.
  • Approximately 88% of schools lack basic sanitation facilities, affecting the overall learning environment.
  • In remote areas, schools often lack proper classrooms, forcing students to study in makeshift structures.

Teacher Shortages and Pay Inequalities

  • The student-to-teacher ratio in South Sudan is estimated at 89:1 for primary schools (UNESCO).
  • Teacher salaries in South Sudan are among the lowest in the world, leading to a significant shortage of qualified educators.

Security Concerns:

  • Ongoing conflicts have disrupted education in South Sudan. UNICEF reports that over 2 million children are out of school due to insecurity.
  • Schools have been targeted during conflicts, leading to damage and destruction.

Curriculum Development:

  • South Sudan is in the process of developing a national curriculum that reflects the country’s diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
  • This transition presents an opportunity to promote indigenous knowledge and values in education.

Kenya’s Education System – As Observed By HOPE for Ariang Foundation

Universal Primary Education:

  • Kenya introduced free primary education in 2003, resulting in a significant increase in primary school enrollment. Over 8 million students are enrolled in primary schools (World Bank).

Infrastructure Investment:

  • Kenya’s government has invested in constructing new classrooms and providing textbooks to primary school students.
  • Initiatives like the Elimu Tuitakayo program have improved school infrastructure across the country.

Teacher Training:

  • The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) in Kenya is responsible for teacher recruitment and professional development.
  • Kenya’s commitment to teacher training ensures a qualified teaching workforce.

Technological Integration:

  • Kenya’s “Digital Literacy Program” aims to provide laptops to primary school students to enhance their digital skills.
  • The program seeks to bridge the digital divide and prepare students for the modern workforce. Comparing the Contrasts: Challenges and Progress

Access to Quality Education: While Kenya has made progress in achieving universal primary education, there are still disparities in the quality of education between urban and rural areas. In South Sudan, access remains a more significant challenge due to ongoing conflicts and limited infrastructure.

Teacher Quality: Kenya’s investment in teacher training and development has led to a relatively well-qualified teaching workforce. South Sudan faces a critical shortage of qualified teachers, impacting the quality of education.

Curriculum Development: Kenya and South Duan have improved their efforts to strengthen curriculum development processes. Kenya seeks to update its curriculum to meet the needs of a changing world, while South Sudan is in the early stages of creating a national curriculum tailored to its context.

Technology Integration: Kenya is ahead in integrating technology into education through initiatives like the Digital Literacy Program. South Sudan faces infrastructure challenges that limit the widespread adoption of technology in schools.

Looking Forward

Like Kenya, South Sudan seems to be making substantial progress in its education system despite the significant challenges faced due to ongoing conflicts and limited resources. It is incredible that both Kenya and South Sudan share the aspiration of providing quality education to their citizens and are working towards overcoming their unique obstacles on this journey. 

South Sudan’s unique set of challenges calls for the government, civil society organizations, the international community, and the local community to work together to mobilize the resources needed to improve the situation. The policies need to be strengthened and fully implemented to protect the children of South Sudan from the harms that come with the lack of quality education. 

Those of us who have the opportunity to access quality education and reap its benefits clearly understand what the child of South Sudan is missing (will miss) out on if the education system fails to favor affordable access to quality education. It is essential that all efforts are applied so that the child of South Sudan is not locked out of A BEARABLE FUTURE.

It would be very stretching (if possible at all) for the children of South Sudan to realize their full potential without proper education.

Education as a Path to Progress: Celebrating John’s Achievement

Congratulations, John, for your excellent score at the secondary school level national exams!

John and his father: Sponsorship briefing

2018: We sat in our Nairobi office to design our Scholars Empowerment Program (SEP), our high school sponsorship program. Thinking through the program was not a walk in the park. Fully aware of the challenges facing education, especially, in rural South Sudan, we braced on and created SEP’s blueprint. We knew the actual path would be different from the one we envisioned but chose optimism. 

We mobilized HFA’s team in South Sudan to help us select potential candidates for the program, create sponsorship policies, and identify budget schools for our students. We pitched the program to our supporters and raised school fees for 2 girls and 2 boys who formed the first cohort.

We quickly identified areas of need and started the Bany Akolda leadership training program to help build the necessary capacity for the students to intrinsically address their needs. The sponsorship program took a better trajectory with every effort we made despite how trivial it looked. The scholars developed stronger resilience and focus on education after every leadership training workshop.

John showing his letter of invitation to the SEP

Today, we celebrate John for demonstrating a growth mindset during the Bany Akolda leadership training workshop and eventually applying the knowledge to improve his high school performance. He recently graduated from high school and scored 76.30%, which grants him direct university admission.

John (center left) and his colleagues after receiving some boarding materials

John’s victory at the high school level is truly commendable and heartwarming given the obstacles he overcame. Education in rural South Sudan is very demanding. Transitioning from enrollment in grade 1 to finishing 12th grade is an arduous journey.

University education will greatly increase John’s luck for a better life. In most cases, a university degree holds weight in the employment market – especially in Africa. As a result, we see John as someone who is on the verge of breaking communal barriers and using education to change his life, a key indicator of HFA’s progress in the direction of alleviating poverty through education.

John’s success story inspires us to support more young people from rural South Sudan and beyond to access quality education and improve their lives.

Thanks to our supporters for enabling John and the other SEP Scholars to access high school education. We have won again. Every dollar given to HOPE has an impact on the rural community of South Sudan.

I want to give to help more kids to access quality education. Give here.

Making Education More Accessible for the 620 Students of Mading, South Sudan

The education situation across South Sudan, especially the remote villages needs immense support. Ariang region, where we work, has six villages and three primary schools whose student population is over 3,000. The daily attendance in all the three schools averages 2,500, meaning that about 5,00 students miss school every day. Any effort that makes education more accessible to children matters a lot. 

HOPE for Ariang’s Ariang Network of Schools Program‘s core mission seeks to promote inclusive access to education through a collaborative and centralized support system. However, there are many barriers in various forms for a person living outside of Ariang to understand. 

Students sitting on rocks to receive instructions
Students walking to school
Students crossing 20-meter wide river using a log canoe to go to school

For many students, going to school means trekking barefoot for up to 6 Kilometers through dense vegetation and swimming between 20-40 meters across the river to reach school.  Learning means sitting on rocks under trees in an open field to receive instructions, writing from your laps because there are no desks to write on, and going full-day without lunch.

If these blockers are left unchecked, the world risks losing another generation of children to childhood marriages, illicit groups/behaviors, severe suffering in old age, and continued generational poverty cycles.

How Does HFA Help Mitigate the Barriers?

HFA collaborates with individuals, organizations, government agencies, and the local community of Ariang to eliminate the blockers so that education becomes more accessible for every child.

One such organization is Tailored for Education, a Boston-based not-for-profit organization that helps restore and maintain students’ dignity through uniforms. This year [2022], HFA received yet another funding from the organization to support the students of Mading School with school uniforms and shoes. Mading is one of the three schools that HFA supports through its Ariang Network of Schools program.

Mading school has a student population of six hundred and twenty [620] boys and girls who go there every day to quench their thirst for education. However, the school lacks basic school infrastructures such as classrooms, desks, chalkboards, and stationeries. All six hundred and twenty [620] students and their teachers sit on rocks under trees in an open field. This situation causes their uniforms to wear out faster compared to other students in sister schools. This school, therefore, needs extra support for it to continue to operate. The closest sister school where Mading students could go is two hours away. That means extra walking in the scorching sun of South Sudan. 

The Tailored for Education’s uniforms fund filled a major social gap. The funding enabled HFA to buy seven hundred pairs [700] pairs of sneaker shoes and 691 pairs of high-quality fabric school uniforms – 100% made by local women. Each of the six hundred and twenty [620] students of Mading School received a new pair of shoes and a school uniform.

Below are some photos documenting the development process and the colorful event on the day of distribution.

Mama Akuach and her trainer, Eunice – HFA’s WEP graduates at their workshop where they sewed all 691 pairs of uniforms

Our Founding Director helping a student put on his uniforms
Each of the 620 students of Mading School received new pairs of school uniforms and shoes. This takes away a huge burden from the parents, allowing them to focus on other things that contribute to education.
Any effort that empowers girls to come to school is always welcome. Girls face extra challenges in accessing education compared to their counterparts -boys. A school uniform is one example of an educational gift for the girls.
Part of the 620 students of Mading showing their shoes. This is the second time HOPE for Ariang Foundation in partnership with the Tailored for Education is giving shoes and uniforms to the students of Mading School.

Join the HOPE for Ariang Giving Community | Give Monthly

Please consider becoming a monthly donor to help make education more accessible, high-quality, and enjoyable to the children of South Sudan. Our donors have enabled us to grow the school population of the three schools from less than 100 to over 2,500 in a span of 12 years.

Every $10 supports a kid with full-year school supplies. There are over 2,500 students that need support. Welcome! Build a stronger world for everyone today. Every dollar counts.

Photos That Tell Good Stories

Photos That Tell Good Stories

Weaving the future with the threads of education and hope

There is nearly an equal ratio of boys to girls in all our Ariang Network of Schools. Primary education has become more affordable and accessible to both girls and boys. HOPE for Ariang is reaching over 2,500 students through the Ariang Network of Schools program.


Photos that tell good stories ~ Ariang School

More kids are enrolling in school at the right age. This is important in helping the kids to adopt a good school culture and feel it more ingrained in them. Young kids are more receptive to teachers’ advice and this has the potential to increase their chances of staying in school until they graduate. In South Sudan, barriers that prevent kids from staying in school (or focusing on education) tend to increase as kids grow older (especially girls).


Photos that tell good stories ~ Mading School

Over 90% of the students in the Ariang Network of Schools now have good school uniforms and shoes. Uniforms and shoes have restored the dignity of the students and this has made education more equitable by reducing socioeconomic disparities amongst the students.


Photos that tell good stories ~ Women Empowerment Program

We received another grant to make 570 pairs of uniforms for the Mading School (the school under a collection of trees in an open field). In the photo is mama Akuach (our WEP graduate) at her tailoring workshop. She is leading the uniform-making project and her quality of work is incredibly spot on.


Photos That Tell Good Stories
Photos That Tell Good Stories ~ Scholars Empowerment Program

Monica (left) and Regina (right): These two are among the group of Scholars that joined our high school sponsorship program in 2018. Monica is graduating high school this year while Regina will graduate a year after Monica.

Where there is will there is a way!

How does this impact story make you feel?

Leave us a comment in the section below:

Our Mission Model Is Succeeding

Our 10-Year Journey

We have remained steadfast in supporting our Ariang Network of Schools with learning resources, teacher development opportunities, school management efforts, and the development of internal school leadership capacities.

In the last 10 years, the quality of education at all Ariang Network of Schools has gone up. Teachers have become more focused and objective in teaching and the students have embraced education even more.

What Are The Indicators?

Recently, we have seen increased re-enrollments from students that dropped out of school. They tell us that they have re-evaluated their life goals and have realized the importance of education in achieving the goals. This is a noble decision that many students continue to make and a powerful indicator that a positive change is happening.

Some young students of Ariang School.
  • Our Ariang Network of schools population is 2,500. When we started, Ariang School for example had less than 100 students and had the highest student population amongst our 3 schools.

  • 394 students have now graduated from our Ariang Network of Schools since 2011.
  • The number of students graduating from our school has doubled in just 10 years.

  • Daily average attendance of students has continued to improve each year. This is a powerful indicator that our school culture is improving.
  • The number of students transitioning to secondary school has continued to increase for both boys and girls. More and more parents/guardians have realized how vital it is for their kids to receive the highest level of education and are now getting more supportive.
  • The gender distribution amongst students is now nearly 1 to 1 – a significant improvement from 1 to 4 (girls to boys) in 2011. This is commendable and worth a celebration and a powerful indicator that our effort to reduce barriers that limit girls to stay in school is paying off.
  • Kids dropping out of school is one of the biggest challenges schools face across South Sudan. We work to mitigate this challenge and we are happy to report that our intervention is working but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Know Mading Blog Cover Photo
Some students of Mading School. A school we support through our Ariang Network of Schools.

Each $10 = 1 year school supplies for one kid. We have a total of over 2,505 kids that we are supporting. Every dollar counts!! Support this program with books and other supplies.

Our 2020 Cohort Graduated | And Performed Exceptionally Well

A section of our 2020 cohort a few minutes before entering the exam room. All ready and equipped with knowledge. They did well.

Our 2020 cohort performed incredibly well in their national exams. All 47 passed and pushed the percentage up by 3.80% compared to previous year. See a detailed performance here.

We welcome you to add to the impact by supporting our teachers to receive more training or a salary supplement. Teachers get as low as $25/month in South Sudan. Make you impact here.

Or Follow the donate button above or send a check to the address below. NOTE: We changed our mailing address, please use the information below to update your file.:

HOPE for Ariang Foundation,

P.O BOX 569,

Syracuse, NY, 13214.

Use this information to send a check or for inquiries.

The Impact of The Uniforms Project

The uniforms project is 100% complete. A total of 24,342 student items (uniforms, supplementary items, and shoes) were made and distributed to our 3 schools through our Ariang Network of Schools – this impact reached 2,505 and transformed their school life in many ways. This particular project was 100% funded by Tailored for Education.

Below is a summary of items distributed and their impact in the community.

Summary of items procured and distributed
Impact of the project to the community of Ariang

The schools reached by this project include Ariang School, Nyieth School, and Mading School. We would like to feature Mading School because it has a unique set of challenges.

Mading School | The School Under A Collection Of Trees

Mading Classroom Setting

Mading Primary School is a makeshift school where all teaching and learning for over 565 students [current student population] and sixteen members of the teaching staff happen under a collection of trees in a cleared field. The school doesn’t have a single structure and classrooms are simple chalkboards propped up against a tree while students huddle around on the ground and write from their laps.

The Weather Determines Learning

The school administration and the teaching staff explained to us that extreme weather conditions such as rains, sand storms, scorching afternoon sun, and warm breezes usually bring learning to a standstill for days, weeks, and sometimes, for months.

Students Sit On Rocks and Tree Roots To Recieve Instructions

Students Sitting On Tree Roots

When the weather is favorable, students of Mading School walk through grasslands, dusty/bare grounds, and soaked
fields depending on the season to reach the school. The school does not have a good road accessing it – only footpaths made by grazing animals and people. Upon reaching the school, the students sit on rocks and tree roots to receive instructions. Students endure ‘the scorching sun of South Sudan’ when trees shed their leaves and younger students are usually advised to stay at home during these times.

Challenges and Socio-economic Disparities

Mading School is located at the heart of the poorest village in Ariang. The majority of students do not have school uniforms or shoes and they put on whatever clothes they have. Socio-economic disparaties are easily noteceable when you look around. These disparities bring in, many forms of educational inequalities and social stigma to the students. This uniforms project filled many of these gaps in addition to the impact stories highlighted above

Our Dream For Mading School

Our wish and dream is to build proper school infrastructures but we often have financial shortfalls considering that our organization is young. Here is a short vision we wrote for this school but we haven’t been able to raise enough funds to make it a reality.

Seeking Support For This School

Any support or connections to organizations or international governments that fund these types of projects is highly welcomed. Together we can build this school one classroom at a time through our collective effort. The benefits will be great, lasting, and impactful.

We welcome you to support the kids of Mading School by making a donation of any amount. Every $10 supports one kid with one year school supplies. This is the first postitive step in the direction of making education more accessible to kids of South Sudan.

Checks donation can be sent to:

HOPE for Ariang Foundation

P.O BOX 569,

Syracuse, NY, 13214

Scholars filling major leadership roles in the community

Our SEP Scholars Are Filling Major Leadership Roles In The Community

Bany Akolda Achievements and The Story Of Roda – An Exceptionally Talented Young Girl of SEP

What is Bany Akolda?

Bany Akolda is Dinka for leaders of tomorrow. It is a leadership training that aims at enabling our SEP Scholars to develop ethical leadership, and proactive management skills. Also many young people do not have many career options. They know of medical, teaching, engineering, and aviation professions. We explore more professions and leverageable techonologies to help our Scholars increase their knowledge of the ever-changing world.

Why Is Bany Akolda Important?

Curious what this leadership training comprises, why it is important, and what change it will bring to the people of Ariang? Well! The training helps the students to develop 21st century skills including problem solving, critical thinking, determination, decision making, resilience, and more. We read books, analyze major themes and character traits of the books’ characters, then we pause and see how those fit in the context of Ariang and South Sudan.

Has this been useful? YES! | What are the indicators?

Our Scholars are now able to identify some challenges facing the community, figure out a low-cost solution, come up with possible intervention strategies, and push them forward (with some support from HOPE).

Any Clear Examples? YES!

Covid Training Project in 2020

Inspired by some of the lessons from the book ‘A Long Walk To Water’ By Linda Sue Park, Our Scholars led a COVID-19 awareness and preventative measures training in 2020. They set up hand washing stations at strategic points in all the 6 villages of Ariang and managed them effectively. They developed a training curriculum in their local language to ensure all members of the community understood all basic precautionary measures of the world’s new threat ‘-COVID-19’. This training was impactful and reached 790 households – close to 7,000 people of Ariang

The 2021/22 WASH Project

This year, we started our second book ‘The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind’ by William Kamkwamba of Malawi; and the Scholars have already mapped out a community project for 2021/22. Most families in South Sudan do not have latrines/toilets. The lack of these has been a major cause of many life-threatening illnesses especially among young children. The Scholars are developing a curriculum for training the community on the risks of lack of latrines and benefits of having one. The Scholars are strategizing a plan for constructing between 15 to 30 latrines using readily-available materials and HOPE is going to support them with a small budget for tools and iron sheets for roofing.

This project will eradicate many health challenges that come with lack of proper hygiene and sanitation. There are international organizations filling this objective but what is unique about SEP’s intervention strategy is that it is community-engineered and led and will likely influence a positive behavior change going forward.

You might remember Mary (left) and Rebecca (right). We have featured them in our past stories. This is them during the leadership training. Both were selected to lead their teams during the project timeline. Powerful upcoming female leaders.
We welcome you to contribute to this community project however you can. Make a donation here or click the picture to get to PayPal

The Story Of Roda – An Exceptionally Talented Young Girl Of SEP

Click the Roda‘s picture to donate via PayPal

30th July 2021

Self Introduction (In her own words):

My name is Roda. I was born in 2000 at Maker village in Ayien Boma. I’m living with my family which consists of my father, mother, four sisters and two younger brothers. My family relies on subsistence farming for its survival since my parents are poor and uneducated.

I started my primary school education in Nyieth Primary School in 2012. As I started my primary education, things were not easy since my parents could not afford school requirements but at least they afforded little. As I proceeded with my studies in that critical time, I managed to complete class 7 in Nyieth Primary School and I was enrolled in class eight at Ariang Primary School. Surprisingly, I observed many good things which included free schooling, free exercise books, school bags, and solar lanterns. I continued my learning in class and finally sat for the South Sudan Unified Exams. I happened to be the best female student in my school.

Then I applied for HOPE for Ariang’s high school scholarship and I luckily won it. As I am being sponsored for secondary school education, I am very grateful for it because it is a great gift that I never dreamed of and I’m very inspired to do better in school. I want to be a doctor to help people with various diseases in the years to come in my community and South Sudan in general. I am very thankful to Gabriel who founded HOPE for Ariang organization and I am grateful to madam Liz Deng for encouraging us to stay in school. Special thanks to supporters of SEP for paying secondary school fees for me and other SEP Scholars. Thank you.

Yours Sincerely


Roda and her sibblings at their home in South Sudan.

If you are inspired to fund Roda’s or one of the 15 SEP Scholars’ education, kindly let us know and we will pair you up (Send us a note through john.gitonga@hopeforariang.org).

Only a few Scholars are paired up. Annual high school fees and supplies range between $500 and $600 ($2,000-@2,400 for all the four years) payable in one-time, annually, or monthly – in parts or in full. We can be sending you updates, letters, and pictures of your paired Scholar. (Note: Schools increased fees this year because of many adversities caused by COVID)

Everyone is welcome to make a donation to the high school fund. Our first cohort is graduating next year. This program has become a reality because of our collective effort.

To Support: Follow the donate button above or send a check to:

HOPE for Ariang Foundation

P.O BOX 569,

Syracuse, NY, 13214

47 Shine In The National Exams

Woo hoo! The 2020 South Sudan National Results for Primary Schools are out. HOPE for Ariang has remained steadfast in supporting Ariang Network of Schools with learning resources, teacher development opportunities, school management efforts, and the development of internal school leadership capacities.

All these efforts are paying off. The number of students graduating each year has doubled in just 10 years with a nearly equal ratio of girls to boys. Our girls continue to do better in all subjects and have been closing the gap in the mean score compared to their counterparts-the boys. This a huge and commendable impact and a clear indicator that a positive change is happening in the remotest villages of South Sudan.

These are some of the graduates moments before sitting for their national exams

We are proud of the 47 students that enrolled and stayed in school until graduation. And the exciting news is that all of them passed the exams. We congratulate them for staying strong and focused in their quest for knowledge and pursuit for excellence. Both male and female students performed very well and attained good marks. The students put on confidence, determination, and resilience to be able to stay in school and earn this big achievement.

Top Students

Our top male student is John with 410 out of 500 marks while our top female student is Bakhita with 379 out of 500 marks. Both of them have balanced performances in all the subjects. Congratulations John and Bakhita!

Overall Performance

The overall percentage increase in the mean score is 3.80% compared to 2019. The girls had a percentage increase of 0.54% while the boys had a percentage increase of 7.50% in the mean score by gender.

We witnessed a commendable improvement in Math and Social Studies but a slight decrease in English. Learning has resumed across South Sudan and our students will have the opportunity to meet, participate in debates, and English speaking competitions. These skills will help them learn more vocabularies as well as perfect their tenses and grammar.

How Can You Support?

Offer a helping hand and support these kids to build a stronger future for themselves and their families. Every $10 donated supports 1 kid with full-year school supplies.

If you would like to send a check:

HOPE for Ariang Foundation

P.O. Box 569

Syracuse, NY, 13214

Here is a quick PayPal Checkout Option or just click the button below. Create a lasting impact in the lives of the kids of remote villages of South Sudan.

Our Resolve To Unite Ariang Network of Schools

We were worried the performance would fall because of the long Covid break that interrupted learning across South Sudan for 14 months. We are happy to see the students worked hard while they were at home.

Long school vacations pose a set of challenges to our female students and we couldn’t be happier to see them resume learning and pass the exams exceptionally well.

Our goal to consolidate efforts and ensure that the leaderships of all our three schools work towards a common goal is paying off.  We would like to express our gratitude to the students, teachers, and our education director for pulling together in the right direction despite the many barriers that stood in the way in 2020.

To Our Supporters

Thank you for making education more accessible in the villages of South Sudan. This achievement is your dollar at work! Thank you for choosing HOPE and continue supporting us to make this world a better place for everybody.

We are getting bigger, stronger, and better – The making of 25,000 school uniforms

New bathrooms, a water storage unit, gutters all around the school building, new water well, new septic tank. Wow!