In South Sudan most girls drop out of school early, before they achieve any formal qualifications. In fact, teenage girls are more likely to die in childbirth than complete their secondary education.
At the beginning of February the government of South Sudan published the results of the nationwide primary school leaving certificate which were taken sat at the end of November 2018.
The top scorer in the 2018 examinations was a girl from a small village in the south west of the country. She was joined in the national top ten by five of her classmates. That’s 6 out of the top ten scorers in the country were girls from the same small school: Ibba Girls Boarding School. This is a school that opened in 2014 with 40 girls in a single class and 2018 was the first year that its girls were old enough to sit the leaving certificate. It is a remarkable achievement.
The six girls I have mentioned, and the other 29 girls in their class, have now begun the first of the four years that will make up their secondary education.
The school is not only a benefit to the girl pupils. The girls take what they learn home with them to share with their siblings and even their parents. And the school provides employment, with salaries that are reliably paid each month, to more than thirty people. It has a very positive impact on the local community. The national Ministry of Education has noticed this and wants more schools like IGBS across the country.
Ibba Girls Boarding School shows what can be achieved by girls from the poorest of backgrounds if only they have the chance. But the local community cannot afford to run the school — nor can the state education ministry — so the girls rely on funding from the Friends of Ibba Girls School, a British charity of which I am the treasurer (it’s one of the ways I practise what I teach). Here’s a 2-minute video about the school.
If you’ve read this far you won’t be surprised by me asking you to consider supporting the school with a monthly donation. You can find out more about the school, and make a one-off or recurring donation, at our website. If you happen to be involved with an institution that makes grants to a charity like Friends of Ibba Girls School, or know someone who is looking to make a major donation to a good cause, then please email me and we can have a conversation about it.