The VAD Foundation
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Find out more about South Sudan, VAD Foundation history, and those who make it possible.
100% of online donations go directly to fund programs.
There are still critical unmet funding needs in 2018:
- 85,000 to finish construction on the Alok Girls Boarding School.
Long Term Goals
- $280,000 is required to begin the South Sudan Employment Initiative.
- $1,800,000 is required to launch our Public Service Leadership Endowment to fund 50 students' tuition and board fees annually for the next 25 years.
The VAD Foundation has always made girls education a priority. We have done this by scaling our efforts to create learning opportunities for girls, improving girls' learning outcomes and transforming harmful gender norms in society.
That is why we built the Stephane Yulita Girls' Dormitory in 2010, which allowed up to 115 girls to study at Marial Bai Secondary School. The girls overcame many challenges to complete their education. Click HERE, to read about just one of our graduates, Mary Abuk Kuur Bol. In 2018, we will open the Alok Girls' Academy, the first all-girls boarding school in the region. The Academy will provide education for up to 144 girls who would not have had it otherwise.
Our long term goal in our forthcoming project, the South Sudan Employment Initiative, will target out-of-school adolescent girls (those left behind by the formal educational system).
- With a maternal mortality rate of 1:32, a girl is seven times more likely to die in child birth than graduate secondary school. South Sudan has the highest maternal death rate in the world.
- 52% of girls are married before the age of 18.
- Less than 1% of South Sudanese girls are studying at a secondary level.
- A South Sudanese girl is seven times more likely to die
in childbirth than graduate high school.
- The World Bank has estimated that only seven girls for every ten boys attend primary education, while five girls for every ten boys are enrolled in secondary education. In 2013 only 500 girls were in the last grade of secondary school in the whole country.
- Only 12% of teachers are female. Female teachers are essential to serve as a positive influence for girls to enroll and stay in school – such a low number plays a part in reinforcing gender disparities.
- Literacy rates are remarkably lower for girls, 40% compared to 60% for boys.
- 91% of women in South Sudan are illiterate.
- In South Sudan, a girl spends on average of only 4.5 years enrolled in school.
Peace through Education
The VAD Foundation is a nonprofit organization working in South Sudan to create community-driven development projects. Established by Valentino Deng and Dave Eggers after the publication of What is the What, the Foundation's first major project is the construction and operation of a 21-structure educational complex in Valentino's hometown of Marial Bai, South Sudan.
Marial Bai Secondary School (MBSS) has increased access to excellent secondary education, trained teachers, created equal opportunities for girls, and promoted literacy for children and adults in the region. MBSS is the highest ranking South Sudanese secondary school that is free for students to attend, a true leader in the movement to educate the new nation of South Sudan.
Based on these successes the South Sudanese government granted us a new, additional campus that we will be opening as the Alok Girls’ Academy, an all-girls boarding school, in 2018.
What Is The What
What Is the What is the soulful account of Valentino Achak Deng's life: from the time he was separated from his family in Marial Bai to the thirteen years he spent in Ethiopian and Kenyan refugee camps, to his encounters as a resettled refugee in Atlanta. It was a NY Times bestseller and is translated into multiple languages. Proceeds from the book help support the Marial Bai Secondary School.