Empowering Women: Giving Women a Voice in South Sudan
Among South Sudan\’s many problems, we feel that the selling of young women as brides is one of the greatest. The culture within South Sudan is that women have only two main purposes: bearing children, and taking care of household duties. When we first entered South Sudan, we quickly saw the treatment of women and giving them aid became one of the most important items on our list for change and need. We learned that families would sell their teenage daughters to other families in exchange for livestock, money or other things the families would negotiate upon. Some women would be sold at as young as 12 years of age and forced to marry. For a woman in South Sudan, young or old, education is virtually nonexistent. Because the government charges tuition for school, most families are only willing to pay for the male’s education, either due to lack of money or simply because they feel a woman is not to be educated or considered at the same level as a man. This leaves many young women with no form of education and, as a result, they are forced into maintaining the home, cooking, cleaning, getting water, etc. Also, once a woman is sold, even at a young age, and forced into marriage, the male does not allow the “young bride” to go to school because her sole purpose then is to bear children. Therefore, we have started the project: Giving Women a Voice. This project is aimed at educating young women and paying for their first and secondary school tuition, and even on to college. For older women, who can no longer go to secondary school or college, we have started teaching trade skills so that they may have a career and provide for their families. We now have classes for textile and farming, health care and much more. Currently, we are supporting a few women who have gone on to college and are studying to become lawyers to change the laws regarding women within South Sudan.
This project is not an easy one. We have seen young women run away from their homes and villages in order to escape a forced marriage. We have had a woman come to us who has been widowed due to the on-going civil war and looking for some education so that she might provide for her 5 children. We have had one of our students go back to their village to visit their family after 3 years away only to then be forced into marriage and die during child birth, being too young to bear children. Our goal is to help women like this find a better life.
The Crisis of Forced Marriages
South Sudan grapples with a heartbreaking issue – the sale of young women as brides. In a culture where women’s roles are narrowly defined, we’ve witnessed teenage daughters being sold for livestock or money. Some as young as 12 are forced into marriages, with little access to education or opportunities. We’re committed to changing this narrative.
Education Breaks Barriers
Education is a vital tool for change. In South Sudan, access to education for women is limited. Our “Giving Women a Voice” project focuses on providing young women with educational opportunities, from primary to secondary school and even college. Education empowers them to redefine their future and create lasting change.
Empowering Through Trade Skills
For older women who can’t pursue formal education, we offer trade skills classes. These courses encompass textile work, farming, healthcare, and more, enabling them to develop careers and support their families. We believe in equipping women with the skills they need for financial independence.
Our mission is not without challenges. We’ve seen brave young women flee forced marriages and widowed mothers seeking education for their children’s sake. Tragically, we’ve also witnessed the consequences of early marriages. Despite the difficulties, our commitment remains unwavering.
Our Hope and Commitment
Our ultimate goal is to provide a better life for women in South Sudan. Through education, skills development, advocacy, and support, we strive to empower them to break free from societal constraints and build fulfilling futures.
Changing Lives, Challenging Norms, Inspiring Hope for the women of Sudan.
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with us in our mission!
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