Aserela — Committed to nourishing the mind, body, and spirit
of the people of South Sudan instilling in them self-reliance, self esteem, and hope.
Your support of ASERELA’s RAISE THE ROOF crowdfunding campaign, combined with donations from 2013 through 2015, led to the completion of the school’s new sheet metal roof this August. And school ENROLLMENT DOUBLED. Amazing! Thank you with all our hearts! With your great support once again, soon we’ll be able to add doors and windows.
Aserela was unable to achieve our ambitious goal of raising $40,000 outright for a roof for the Nyolo Hope School. But there still is GREAT NEWS! Aserela’s President, Mary Otto, along with other Aserela board members, were able to use the funds from our recent Raise The Roof Campaign, plus donations raised from 2013 through early 2015, as a down payment for completion of the roof.
With great gratitude to a local contractor near the school who accepted our down payment and provided material and labor, plus with help from many families and local leaders in the school’s surrounding villages, those funds proved sufficient to get a sheet metal roof in place for this school year! This was vital to preventing the collapse of the school’s walls during the rainy season.
We couldn’t be more pleased at what a success this has turned out to be!
Because of the hard work of Aserela in South Sudan, the school and community leaders, and most importantly, the families from many surrounding tribes joining together for completing this project, it has led to more than doubling student enrollment.
The addition of the new roof became both a reality and a source of pride. It symbolized for the community how important the school is, and education is for the many children in the Kit, South Sudan region. In turn, many parents who were reluctant to send their children off to a school with no roof, suddenly felt empowered to do so. The school is becoming a focal point for the four tribes in this region.
Enrollment now stands at 700 students, up from 360, with students coming to school from as far away as 4 miles by foot. And quite amazingly, girls, who typically have been discouraged from going to school in favor of being kept home to tend to family chores now outnumber the boys in attendance! There are now 379 female students enrolled. Most students attend on a regular basis. And the school currently has two paid teachers and six volunteer teachers.
That is an amazing achievement we ALL can feel very good about. At Aserela we say: “Today’s Learners, Tomorrow’s Leaders”. With your generosity, once again, we have made a difference in this world for the good!
See the video below. It is a song created and performed by the Nyolo Hope students, as a welcome and thank-you gesture for Aserela Vice-President Milly Atim Odong, and other local leaders, school officials and our South Sudan Aserela coordinator, Robert Owot Ambrose… all who attended a ceremony in early September to recognize the hard and good work that went into putting this new roof onto the school.
Their song is also dedicated to you… especially to each of you who blessed us with kind donations to continue our progress toward enriching the lives of these students and setting them on a path to learn, achieve, gain self-sufficiency and who will eventually lead this struggling young democracy of South Sudan to a brighter future.
1 Aserela was founded in 1994 in Maine, USA. Our 501c(3) non-profit builds self-reliance among the South Sudanese people, both in newly independent South Sudan and for those refugees who’ve re-settled in Maine. South Sudan gained independence in 2011 after decades of devastating civil war. Unfortunately the emerging republic continues to struggle with political turmoil and battles along the northern part of the country, impacting progress toward democratic ideals, improved infrastructure, education, health and well-being of its citizens. Especially effected are the rural, poor villages.
Aserela knows that the success of South Sudan depends on lifting up and preparing the nation’s youth to be future leaders, and a good education is the cornerstone. The slogan of the Nyolo Hope School is Today learners. Tomorrow leaders. Our ability to help ensure South Sudan’s turnabout from a sad and tragic past depends solely on the generosity of our volunteers and good people like you who donate to our programs and projects.
2 Aserela’s mission is to work with one small “forgotten” region near the South Sudan and Ugandan border to solve some very large intractable challenges that face this rural area and new nation. Roughly 50% of South Sudanese are under age 14. Many are orphaned. The illiteracy rate is nearly 95%. Female illiteracy in South Sudan is ranked worst in the world. In rural villages, a school is a unifying focus for the community. In the Nyolo region it has helped bridge differences with four diverse tribes.
Aserela’s efforts, though challenged by a distance of thousands of miles, is bringing education and literacy to village children eager to learn. With volunteers here in Maine… and local labor, dedicated volunteers, and involved parents in Nyolo… the construction of a wonderful primary school for 700 students is slowly but surely being accomplished. Together we ARE changing lives.
3 Aserela’s current project: Buying and installing doors and windows for the Nyolo Hope Primary School, the only school in Nyolo/Kit region, South Sudan (pop. 60,000).
We are proud that students are now attending classes in a (mostly) dry school, now that it has its new sheet metal roof. The three rudimentary brick buildings housing classrooms and a school office are well-built, though they still lack windows, doors, flooring and plastering in most classrooms. A project to install better latrines is currently under way. Several NGO groups have also begun to get involved with the school.