Ambassadors for Change, a 501c3 non-profit based in Atlanta, GA, and spearheaded by Nathaniel Nyok, was founded with the sole purpose of building and maintaining a school in Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan, a state and country in dire need of education. As Kofi Annan declares, “Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy, and sustainable human development.” To succeed as a self-sustaining country, South Sudan needs schools. It is the mission of Ambassadors for Change ““to provide accessible education to the citizens of South Sudan regardless of race, gender, religion, or cultural belief.”
After decades of civil war and unrest, South Sudan gained its independence on July 9, 2011 (read more on the History of Sudan). While the news of repatriation is encouraging, news from family and friends who made it home is not as positive. Southern Sudan lacks basic infrastructure. Everything must be rebuilt – roads, wells, homes, clinics, community building, churches, and schools. Repatriated refugees lack access to jobs, healthcare, and education.
In the realm of public education, children have initiated their education by taking classes under trees. The students, eager to learn, gather to hear the lectures of the teacher, though many do not have the resources to by textbooks or supplies. Their hope of rehabilitation and peace is highly place on education success. Building a world-class school is not an overnight process, but compared to what the children in South Sudan, specifically in Nyok’s former village, currently have as an educational experience, almost any help would improve conditions. Surveys in the asylum countries clearly show that refugees place a high value on education, and therefore the availability of school facilities in south Sudan will be a major factor in their decision to return home. If education improves, governance improves, as a more literate society is able to make informed decisions for the betterment of their country. Sudan’s governance is poor because the people of Sudan are poor.
Ambassadors for Change, in recognition of this need for education, is currently raising funds to achieve the following goals:
- Build Alliance High School in Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan;
- Provide necessary supplies and tools needed for the implementation and sustainment of a successful learning environment;
- Provide funds to maintain the school.
Ambassadors for Change will function as an on-going organization, as, in light of the fall of the already fragile economy due to continued conflicts with Sudan, it recognizes the need to sustain the schools through providing teachers salaries, texts, and supplies.
AFC: Overal Goals of Alliance High School
- Convert Warriors into Peacemakers: Through education, this generation of South Sudanese children will be cut off from training as warriors and raiders and will instead learn the dialogue of diplomacy, a diplomacy that will serve to eliminate tribal conflicts and unify the tribes.
- Create a Monolithic Identity: Currently, due to a lack of education, people in South Sudan are loyal to tribes and not to a nation; they lack the understanding of the significance of nationalism. Education will aid in fostering a new identity, a loyalty to one nation instead of a loyalty to individual warring tribes. This new monolithic identity will serve to eradicate future intertribal conflicts.
- Improve Lives: Education will generate other means of income, which will further aid the development of a self-sustaining South Sudan. As education will create other means of income, the people of South Sudan will no longer have to raid other tribes for survival, which results in the loss of life. Instead, they will work to support their families and develop their nation.
- Promote a Culture of Peace: In keeping with the saying “the pen is mightier than the sword,” Alliance High School will enable the six divergent tribes within these eleven counties to strive towards education as a cohesive whole, and as a result, education will serve to foster peace and build a unified South Sudan.