March 2019 Renewal High School Update

an update from the new high school you sponsor in Yida Refugee Camp

Posted by Mark Hackett on March 12th, 2019

In 2018, Operation Broken Silence began fundraising for a new high school in Yida Refugee Camp, South Sudan. This is an update on how your fundraising and giving is leading to real results on the ground. 

Background

People in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan have been living in emergency conditions since June of 2011, when the government of Sudan launched another genocidal war against their communities. The Bashir regime has officially banned all aid and media organizations from the Nuba Mountains in an attempt to cover up their war crimes. 

A fragile ceasefire is barely holding together in the Nuba Mountains. There are recent reports of targeted government attacks in a few frontline areas, as well as an uptick in government warplanes flying overhead and troop buildups in government-controlled areas. While no actual aerial bombing has occurred, these bomber flights do disrupt daily life at farms, schools, and markets since people do not know if the area they are in is about to be targeted or not.

Just south of the Nuba Mountains is Yida Refugee Camp, which sits a few miles inside of South Sudan's northern border. Yida is one the primary places displaced and persecuted Nuba civilians have fled to over the past several years. Current estimates place Yida's annual population, which can fluctuate quite a bit, between 50,000-60,000 people.

One of the largest demographics in Yida is children under the age of 14. Despite this reality, there are only a handful of schools in Yida that receive little to no outside assistance. This has sparked a deepening education crisis that is threatening the next generation of Nuba leaders and their futures. 

Building and supporting classrooms, paying teacher salaries, and ensuring that children have access to a free education is one of our organization's top priorities. You can watch the campaign video for The Renewal High School to see what this actually looks like on the ground:

Renewal High School Update

The first classes at Renewal High School soft-opened on February 1, 2019. Since then, the school has continued to add more classes and now includes English, mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, business, geography, history, agriculture, sports, music, and art classes.

Classroom construction and starting supply needs at the school have cost $4,587 so far. Similar to the Endure Primary School that we sponsor in Yida, the 6 classrooms and single teacher office were built largely from local materials to help keep costs down. Flying building materials into Yida is incredibly expensive, so using sun-dried bricks and locally-sourced wood keeps costs down. It's nothing glamorous, but it gets the job done.

As far as next steps go with regards to construction, the school still needs another 2 classrooms, a science lab, and what will be Yida's first library built as soon as possible. Estimated budgets for these additional facilities are being compiled now. Additionally, our Nuba education partner needs to build a lecture hall in 2020 that can be used for teacher and community training. 

Renewal High School is staffed by a principal, secretary, and 12 teachers. Currently there are 120 students who have enrolled at the school as part of the soft-opening. Attendance will continue to rise throughout the year as additional resources arrive. In keeping with our mission of empowering the Nuba people directly, the school's entire staff and all of the students are from the Nuba Mountains. 

Additional students not enrolled in the school are showing up every day in hopes of being able to get in. All but one of the other schools in Yida are primary schools, so the Renewal High School is one of the only secondary educational institutions available to Nuba students in the refugee camp. 

While the school has soft-opened, there are still quite a few material needs that need to be met as soon as possible, including:

  • A small laser printer
  • More chalkboards
  • Musical instruments 
  • Sports equipment (specifically soccer and volleyball related items)
  • Basic resources like pencils, paper, etc. 

Lab equipment, books, and other supply needs will appear further down the road. Right now though, our focus is getting the school the basic items it needs that can be used in core classes.

Fundraising Update

Since we announced that our Nuba education partner was preparing to open a new high school in Yida, 93 fundraisers, 260 donors, and 12 monthly recurring givers have worked together to fund the startup costs of The Renewal High School

We need to raise $3,550 a month to keep the current staff employed at the school. Ideally, this funding really needs to be provided by monthly givers so that the teachers have sustainable support and can focus 100% on serving their students.

Renewal members are currently giving $710 a month to support the staff. We need 82 more individuals to give $35 a month for the team at Renewal High to be fully supported. 

Amazing work so far movement members! Below are some specific ways you can join our efforts to ensure that the Renewal High School becomes as successful as Endure Primary now is. 

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1. Give Monthly. Setting up an automatic monthly gift is the easiest way to empower the teachers and students at Renewal High School. We need 82 more supporters to give at least $35 a month. When you sign up to give $35 or more, you also get free tickets to both of our annual events! LEARN MORE »

2. Start A Fundraising Page. Cant give monthly but have a little time on your hands? You can start an online fundraising page for the high school and ask your friends and family to give towards your goal! BECOME A FUNDRAISER » 

3. Attend Our Annual Gala. Our 7th annual Gala that benefits the two schools in Yida that we sponsor is coming up on March 23, 2019 and it is going to be a breathtaking evening! You can pay an entry fee or register for free and fundraise your entry. ATTEND THE GALA »

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