In 2007 when Gabriel Bol Deng first returned to his native village of Ariang after twenty years, he found this community school under the trees. Gabriel saw the challenges that the community faced in educating their children. Lack of trained teachers and instructional materials for students and staff were among these challenges. In addition, lack of clean drinking water on the school premise made it difficult for girls to attend school and caused many children suffer from cholera and other water-related diseases. It was during this trip that Gabriel first shared his dream with the community of building a primary school.
“I saw your learning conditions as well as your determination to get an education. I encouraged you to persevere under these extreme conditions in your school under trees and God willing we will be able to build a concrete school building with a roof someday.”
~ Gabriel Bol Deng speaking at Ariang School Assembly in June 2007