September 2018, was marked a special month for the #Girlchild in Ariang School. Two HOPE for Ariang team members, Elizabeth Deng and Josephine Lukas visited the school with the aim of highlighting and addressing some of the challenges eighth-grade girls face during menstruation.
The visit shed light about HOPE for Ariang’s commitment to improving girls’ education and school attendance through the Women and Girls Empowerment Program. To create a lasting solution, the program also focused on empowering all the women in Ariang and surrounding Villages.
In collaboration with Ariang’s female teacher Maria Adyior, the program started with interviewing the girls to find out how they cope up with menstruation in the absence of sanitary towels.12 out of the 23 eighth grade girls were interviewed. Only a few girls had knowledge about menstruation health management. Out of the 12 girls we interviewed, only one girl knew about sanitary pads and had underwears. All the others had very little knowledge about menstrual hygiene and management. All the girls opted to skip school during their periods. They preferred to stay at home for fear of stigma from their fellow schoolmates.
The interview demonstrated a combination of factors leading to increased absenteeism for girls, poor school performance and increased early marriages. We had some girls who said that:
“I don’t go to school for almost six days”
”…during menstruation, I wear many skirts”
“I feel uncomfortable to ask our male teachers about menstruation problems, and so I feel better to stay back at home where am a bit comfortable for all those days”
Some girls said in most cases they can’t concentrate in class. They always think about sudden menstruation leakage and what others will say about them.
“… During menstruating days, our attentiveness to lessons is always interrupted by the thinking of unplanned leakage and staining of our clothes. Which is so shameful. We don’t concentrate. Most of the time our attention is on menstruation and the embarrassment that comes with it.”
We trained 23 eighth grade girls and 6 community women from the Ariang Village. Teacher Maria Adyior led the training after receiving one-on-one training and coaching from the HOPE for Ariang team. She provided an overview of what is menstruation, menstruation management and challenges experienced during menstruation period. She also advised and guided them on how to stay clean and healthy while on their period.
At the end of the training session, the women and girls were given a reusable sanitary kit which included three underwears, four reusable sanitary pads, a bucket and a soap. By using reusable pads, girls will be able to safely, comfortably and consistently manage their periods without worrying about embarrassment and shame.
The HFA Women and Girls Empowerment program addresses challenges which prevent girls in Ariang to continue with their education and live a healthy life in the community through a very comprehensive approach:
Our target is to empower all girls at Ariang school to happily attend school daily, concentrate in class and reach their potentials. If you would like to donate to our Women and Girls Empowerment Program, you can make a donation here. Simple, write “Ariang Girl” in the comment box. Help us to ensure that all girls can go to school, attend classes, and complete their education without any barriers so that they can reach their full potential and be the change in the community. We want to make our girls shine.
A quality primary education is essential but not enough in this evolving world. We envision a world where every child can access higher education to be able to reach his or her full potential in life; breaking the cycle of poverty in Ariang. Since 2011, we have an average of 45 students sit annually for the National Primary Examination at the completion of eighth grade, with an increasing passing rate each year. After finishing at Ariang, the future is unclear for many students due to many obstacles in their way.
This prevents our graduates from joining senior schools. Unlike universal primary school, secondary schools are not free in South Sudan. Many families cannot afford to send their children, especially girls, to high school. Those who manage to join, drop out of school during their second or third year mainly due to lack of financial support. Other contributing factors show more... show less
Girls face even more obstacles compared to boys. Some parents see a 12-year-old girl as property and long to marry her off to get cows as dowry. It is believed that a girl is highly priced when she is between 12 and 18 years. This is school-going age and in South Sudan, a 12-year old is likely in 4th up to 6th grade. Once a girl marries, she is much less likely to continue her show more... show less
The community of Ariang is recovering from decades of war. Most of the older generation did not get an education. Therefore, a very small percentage are eligible for skilled jobs. The majority of people in the community engage in farming and animal rearing. The methods of farming are still very traditional and the reap is usually barely enough to sustain their families for 6 months. show more... show less
Without a secondary school in any nearby communities, it is uncertain if students will manage to continue their education. Students are forced to commute long distances to get to school. The schools are usually congested and lack academically qualified teachers and teaching equipment. Teacher-student ratio is another factor that affects the few available secondary schools. show more... show less
We have stepped in to help more students, with a focus on girls. Students with promising potential now have the opportunity for a secondary school sponsorship. A rigorous application process ensures that we select students who are committed to their continued education. We partner closely with the scholars’ families, to ensure greater support and commitment.
There are 3 types of scholarship options we offer in the Scholar’s Empowerment Program; affordable private schools with boarding for our girls, private day schools, and local day schools. The school fees range between $200 – $400 annually.
You can make a direct impact on the life of one student by becoming a monthly sponsor or a one-time annual donor. There are 3 sponsorship levels by which you can help a student finish high school and set them up on a path towards future success:
An Ariang Advocate provides one student with:
Since closest secondary school is Akon, a three-hour walking distance from Ariang, students usually find accommodations with relatives during weekdays. Your sponsorship ensures that he or she is provided with meals in the evening.
An Araing Ambassador provides one student with:
A private secondary school often offers better quality education with more qualified teachers and better resources and facilities. Sponsored students at the Ambassador level are accepted to private schools in Akon and Kuajok.
An Ariang Champion for Girls enables a girl to:
Becoming a Champion for Girls will save a girl from early marriage and help her to reach her full potential!
Make a difference in someone’s life by giving them a lifetime gift of education. Meet some of our students that your sponsorship will support! Be sure to check back soon as we accept more students in the Scholars Empowerment Program.
Monica Awut is 17 years old. She graduated from Ariang School in 2017 and joined Akon Secondary School in 2018. She was the second best performing student in the zone.
Her brother paid her school fees this year, but his continued support is not possible. Monica says that she would be at home helping her mother with cultivation if she was not in school.
Luil comes from a town that borders Sudan and South Sudan; a region that experiences frequent tribal clashes which succeeded the prolonged period of civil wars. The wars have left this area without a school so he joined Ariang School when he was in Grade 2. After graduating, we helped him join Akon Modern secondary by buying him a uniform and paying his senior one fees. However, Luil has faced lots of obstacles since his family is unable to raise fees for the remaining years.
Mary Abuk is 17 years old and a last born in a family of four. She is sitting for her primary school national exams this year. She is passionate about education and performs very well in class. Mary decided to put marriage life aside, despite pressures, to concentrate on her studies first. She hopes to bring a positive impact to her community-especially women and girls. Due to her family’s financial challenges, she is unsure if she will be able to enroll in a high school.
If you would like to clear a student’s full-year school fees once, this is your space.
The fees are:
Note: You can donate a smaller amount of as low as $5. Feel free to send us any amount you can afford.