History Of The Aserela Organization
More than a decade ago. refugees from southern Sudan re-settled here in Portland, Maine and formed ASERELA USA, which means Action for Self-Reliance Organization. Our main goal at that time was to create an effective organization to help nourish the mind, body, and spirit of South Sudanese people living in the refugee camps in Uganda, the liberated areas in southern Sudan, as well as those who re-settled in the USA. By instilling in them self-reliance and self-esteem, we seek to foster a hope that offers opportunity to the disadvantaged children, orphans, widows, widowers, and people who continue to suffer under the affiliation of poverty, disease, illiteracy, and ignorance as the result of decades of war.
In 2001, ASERELA built our first school in a Kiryandongo refugee camp in Uganda. The school encompassed four classrooms, an ofﬁce, kitchen, nine (9) teachers, two (2) cooks, and educated more than ﬁve hundred children from kindergarten, through fourth grade for over ﬁve years. The school also provided uniforms and hot meals which made a very good start in the lives of these children.
After more than forty years of civil war between fundamental Arabs from the North, and South Sudanese people, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005. This was a signiﬁcant moment, as over two million lives were lost and four million South Sudanese were displaced, and were forced to ﬁnd new homes, and many in distant countries. Our people decided to go home immediately due to many other difficulties they were facing in the refugee camps. They returned to villages and homes that were utterly demolished due to the numerous wars. They lacked clean water, shelter, roads, hospitals, and school buildings which are essential for development. On July 9, 2011 in a referendum with 98% participation, great pride and jubilant celebration, South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan. This newborn republic is a United Nations and African Union member, but with a long way to go in rebuilding its government, institutions and infrastructure. Progress is slow and has been troubled with border conflicts in the far north, and internal governance conflicts since independence. But the South Sudanese people remain optimistic and eager that their new country will make positive changes and great improvements in the coming years.
ASERELA USA has been the hope and bridge between the USA and the people of South Sudan during the War, and for years since. Inspired by our success in building a school in the Ugandan refugee camp, our next goal was to build a new school in the Kit region from scratch. It has been a long and slow process raising funds and coordinating the work from afar. But village parents, local laborers, and even the school children themselves have stepped up to the challenge in helping build their own new school. Today, nearly 360 children are enrolled at the Nyolo Hope Primary School, some of who are orphans. All of them, no matter if they are from the Acholi, Bari, Madi, or Aru tribes, are eager to learn. This new, humble, and yet unfinished school has already become a main focus point for this rural (much forgotten) region and surrounding village communities which are distant from the towns and capital city (Juba) where most NGO and government monies go.
As we endeavor to continue the completion of the work we’ve started, we are reaching out to you again for your continued support, as we believe you might ﬁnd it in your hearts again to help us complete this task. This is a historical project that God Himself has charged us with. Many of the children and their families who have witnessed unspeakable things during the long war will beneﬁt from this work for generations and generations to come.
The children and the community are anxious to complete the construction of their first-ever school. We hope you consider joining hands with us to complete the school. Education, as we all know, is the cornerstone and key to a bright future in life. Therefore, with your willingness and generosity, together we can touch the lives of the children of this new-born country (South Sudan) by reducing the high level of illiteracy, ignorance, and poverty. Sadly, approximately 95% of South Sudanese people cannot read or write, which for many centuries has kept the people and region from developing.
As of now, the Nyolo Hope Primary school remains under construction. Two rudimentary brick structure buildings have been erected and have tin roofs. The interiors are sparse with bare brick walls, but are being used for classes. In good weather the younger students learn beneath shade trees. All students are taught by volunteer (unpaid) teachers, some of who themselves are orphans and refugees from the Ugandan camps, and generously giving of their time and talent to help the village children gain an education. At this time, the students have no uniforms. There are few desks, some of the children bring chairs to school from home. There are minimal school supplies. However, in 2014 ASERALA was successful in raising funds to complete a well on the school grounds so clean water is now available to the children. As well, the materials for building basic latrines have be purchased, though they remain incomplete at this time. The school “office” is a small makeshift corrugated tin structure, which serves many purposes: a meeting room for the teachers, a storage shed for purchased building materials, and as the post for a night watchman.
OUR IMMEDIATE NEED… the brick shell of the third building– which has 6 classrooms for our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders– has been constructed and is standing, but has NO roof. We are in fear that the hard work that has gone into completing this third building may be lost when the rainy season hits in May. To date, we do not have the funds to complete the roof for this building.
So we face a huge challenge in securing the funds needed to purchase roofing materials and exterior doors to keep out the rain, which is only weeks away. Together, let us inspire the uninspired and give hope to the hopeless. Please contribute to the roof fund at our campaign on YouCaring.com.