A second opportunity for Education in South Sudan

10 July 2023|Paula Casado Aguirregabiria

Children and youth in South Sudan have been severely affected by wars, instability, and traditional harmful practices like early marriages, that result in a high rate of school dropouts.

As a result of the above, you can find in certain areas of the country a large number of adults who never even finished their primary or secondary education. This is the case of Victoria, Suzan, or Luis.

Dawa Vicotria during class
I decided to go back to school to help my future education. […] When I resumed education, I felt happy! I enjoy studying, especially history and biology.
Dawa Victoria, 23, ALP beneficiary

In order to fight this reality and provide a quality education to all those who, for a reason or another, could not finalize their education as children, JRS in Yambio (Western Equatoria Estate) offers an Accelerated Learning Program, also known as ALP.

The ALP consists of a concentrated education program of four years for adults, in which two regular school years are taught in one. This way, in four years, ALP students can sit for national exams and obtain their Primary and Secondary Education Certificates.

When I had to drop out from school, I felt really bad… I saw my friends going to class while I had to stay in the market to work. It made me very sad.” – Dawa Victoria, 23

But why some of these students were never able to graduate when they were younger?


Dawa and Suzan share a similar story. At a young age, both of them lost their parents to illness or conflict. As a result of that, none of them had someone who could pay for their school fees. For Suzan, they moved to her uncle’s, who could only afford to pay fees for one of the siblings, so they prioritized to educate the male sibling rather than Suzan and her sister.

In both cases, the girls as teenagers started to work in the market and both of them suffered early pregnancies just a year after dropping out from school.


I don’t want to get pregnant again, not before I finish my education. Not again.” – Suzan Peace, 23


Girls education in here is very poor, we face way more challenges to get educated than boys… we suffer to get school fees and sometimes men impregnate us while promising a better future, but then they disappear.
Dawa Victoria, 23, ALP beneficiary

In many cases, dropping out from school for girls is cause or consequence for early pregnancies and abuses.

Luis Tugo

Luis’ story, however, is a bit different: as a child, he suffered the effects of the civil war in the late 80s, where Yambio region was severely affected. Reason why, Luis and his family ran to the bush to hide from the armed groups.
They stayed in the bush for more than 10 years, period in which Luis could not go to school and the only education he received was few hours of class offered by some priest who accompanied the Internally Displaced.

Luis currently works as a driver for JRS in Yambio.


When I started working as a driver for NGOs, here in South Sudan it is the duty of the driver to report to the base about security updates in the ground. Me, I could not speak proper English, so I always had to depend on others to help me… and that made me feel bad. I started learning some English thanks to the support of my colleagues, but I some point I felt I needed more.
One day I approached the Project Director of JRS in Yambio and explained him my situation. It was then when they offered to pay for my fees at the ALP program so I could graduate from secondary now. It made me very happy. I am very grateful to JRS for supporting me in something so important to me!
” – Luis Tugo


By offering this ALP program, we are giving this former drop-outs a second opportunity to get educated and to improve their quality of life.


This ALP is very important for Yambio. Many people had to drop out from school, because of the war, because of poverty, or in the case of girls also because of harmful practices or pregnancies. Thanks to the ALP, we are given an opportunity to get educated, what is very important for us, especially for the women
Luis Tugo, 40, ALP beneficiary and JRS staff

I wish to become a midwife doctor. I have always dreamed about it, since I was a child. […] Midwifes are important because women in here suffer a lot, and as a midwife you can help the women in the community.” – Dawa Victoria, 23

The three of them have children, and they all coincide in one same wish: for their children to be educated.

Education is key for the future. Education is the only weapon to fight ignorance, poverty, and conflicts. That is why, Education, is the fundamental pillar of JRS.