Keeping schools alive – bringing hope to South Sudan’s children

Our latest blog is from Moses Kopurot Kenyi, the education coordinator with our partner organisation, the Diocese of Rumbek in South Sudan. As the brutal war there continues to rage and the transport network remains fragile, Moses and his team have defied the odds to ensure more than 16,000 children can still receive Mary’s Meals every school day. 

Moses Kopurot Kenyi
Moses Kopurot Kenyi
Education coordinator, Diocese of Rumbek

Back to all stories | Posted on 04 Nov 2016 in Blog

An empty stomach produces an empty mind; these are facts in this nation of South Sudan.  

In the past, it was very difficult to convince the children to come to school and our classes were empty. Most of the children were so malnourished, their physical appearance was a clear manifestation of the lack of proper diet or food at home. 

Many parents cannot afford to provide meals to their children. The economy is getting worse; the currency is depreciating badly and many civil servants’ salaries cannot even buy a bag of sorghum. However, with the Mary’s Meals food most households can budget their meagre salary because their children can at least eat one meal at school. 

When there was no food, you could describe the school as a dead environment, as there were no visible signs of children. South Sudan has the highest proportion of children out of school in any conflict zone in the world and you still see that in some schools who do not yet have the Mary’s Meals school feeding programme. However, where there is Mary’s Meals, teachers are teaching and the schools are alive. 

The involvement of the Mary’s Meals school feeding programme has greatly changed the situation here. These days our classrooms are overflowing with children. Despite the challenges they face, the children continue to surprise us with their academic success. 

I was totally astonished when one of the children posted this big question to me. Eight-year-old Elizabeth asked me why the Diocese continues to give the children food in school. It was so touching when I explained to her that the food is provided by Mary’s Meals and she replied: “We have been receiving food from you and you are saying it is from Mary’s Meals (even though) we have not seen them, and we do not know them and maybe they do not know us. So they are kind and like giving food to children even when they are not seeing them.” 

This alone has given me strength to persevere to serve the children, despite the dire conditions in South Sudan. I know that without the Mary’s Meals school feeding programme, there would be no hope for thousands of children in this region.   

Moses and his team play a vital role in delivering Mary's Meals to hungry and vulnerable children. Help us continue our commitment to children like them by donating today.