Important Update, September 2023:
Update from Sudan
The war which broke out in Khartoum on 15 April is still continuing. After together mounting a military coup in October 2021, the head of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) recently fell out and are now fighting each another, without regard for civilians caught in the crossfire. Those with resources have fled abroad or to safer parts of the country, while those remaining in targeted areas are suffering from fear of violence and a breakdown in essential services.
Prior to this crisis, Women’s Education Partnership had for 20 years provided funds to support the education (in schools, universities and literacy circles) of disadvantaged women and girls. Some were refugees from earlier conflicts in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and South Sudan, but all our Sudanese programmes have been based in and around the twin cities of Khartoum and Omdurman. In the current dire circumstances of the war, schools and universities are closed, and our programmes are unavoidably paused. However, we are in touch with a substantial proportion of our 150 university students, who are now dispersed around the country. They have asked if WEP can provide online tuition to improve their English, since this is the medium of instruction in the universities. It is hoped that, until they are able to reopen, the universities may provide online teaching of their degree courses. Some of our South Sudanese students in Sudan have recently returned to their home country, with the aim of joining the University of Juba.
Update from South Sudan
We have supported literacy circles in South Sudan for several years, and our university scholarship programme for disadvantaged women was relaunched when post-conflict conditions in that country allowed. An enthusiastic medical student at Juba Institute for Health Sciences has just finished her second year, with WEP having paid for her fees, uniform and laptop. Fourteen other women have just completed their first year, mainly studying aspects of Health Science for a degree, a diploma or a certificate at one of six institutes in or near Juba. Of the 14 women, ten are single and four are married. All are over 22 years of age, and two are 34 years old. This reflects the fact that their education was disrupted by the earlier conflicts in South Sudan. Thus, WEP is addressing those most vulnerable, as several are also orphans or have only a mother, and all have no financial support from their families.
We are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to resume our literacy and teaching programmes in Sudan, but meanwhile we continue to do our best to support our Sudanese students, and are actively expanding our role in South Sudan.
Trustees of Women’s Education Partnership