Americans across the country spent this past weekend celebrating Independence Day, marking 235 years of freedom with fireworks and festivities, just days before one African nation is celebrating their independence for the very first time.
On July 9, 2011 the Republic of South Sudan will emerge as the world’s newest nation. This comes after last January’s referendum in which the vast majority of South Sudanese voters chose to split from the North and declare their own independence. Preceded by decades of brutal war that left more than 2 million dead, this occasion marks a fresh beginning for the people of Sudan. While tensions remain high, with growing violence in the northern and southern border area of Abyei and the Nuba Mountains, a new nation prepares to welcome this historical event with hope for a peaceful future.
This occasion means a great deal for our partner organization Project Education Sudan, which is now located in this new nation. “We are very excited about our partnership with the South Sudanese in working alongside them to provide what their new country is in need of: sustainable education. We are especially proud of the communities we work with in supporting girls education in a country where only 1 percent of girls have access to primary education and less than 1 percent graduate from secondary.”
Despite the challenges ahead, a fresh generation of young idealists are ready to lead their country into the future. Carol Rinehart, founder of PES, believes that “education is the only way this new country will move into a free and democratic state. The Ayak Angeui Girls’ Primary Boarding School is setting a precedent for others to follow by promoting girl’s education and future female leaders who will play a major role in building their new nation.”
We celebrate this occasion with our partner as they help build a promising future for the girls and women of South Sudan, who will be among the first to celebrate their independence!