Alok Girls’ Academy
Our commitment has been longstanding since 2010. To invest in girls’ education is also to invest in preventing disease, decreasing poverty, and lessening violence. When a woman prospers, her family prospers—when families prosper, whole communities prosper.
Many girls drop out or never enroll due to marriage, pregnancy, and duties at home. We are working with the community to bridge the gap between traditional female roles in the community and the importance and benefit of equal education for girls in order to increase enrollment and opportunity.
Girls’ Education in South Sudan is working against staggering statistics. Currently in South Sudan, less than 1% of young women finish high school.
The VAD Foundation established Alok Girls Academy (AGA) in 2018 to offer more girls educational opportunities. This initiative is driven by the VADF’s Vision and Mission. AGA comprises of both primary and secondary education. The Academy focuses on supporting girls from underprivileged background in Aweil and the surrounding States. AGA started with an initial enrolment of about 200 girls, but this number has almost triple in just one year owing to high demand of girl education in the region and in South Sudan as a whole.
During the new students’ admission period of February 2019, the school received an overwhelming number of new applications from children who currently cannot afford to go to school due to lack of the necessary support. The VAD Foundation could only support 500 students at AGA due to the limited resources available to the Foundation. The Academy currently has more than 500 students which is beyond the capacity of the available physical infrastructure and support facilities.
Due to the enormous need to support more girls to get formal education, the VADF is constantly seeking partnerships and support from other organizations. The Foundation believes that education is one of the most important pillars that can positively transform the economic status of individuals citizens, communities and of South Sudan as a whole.
Alok Academy is one of the model schools that is already setting a high standard of education both in the region as well as nationally. AGA like other schools supported by the VADF has incorporated livelihood skills training as part of the school curriculum. This livelihood skills prepares our students to embrace the many opportunities locally available that they can engage in to help them improve their economic status and way of life. Because of the effectiveness of livelihood skills training at school, most of the family members of our students also benefit directly.
With thousands of girls seeking educational opportunity at AGA, the VADF plans to expand the enrolment of girls at AGA in the coming school year. This increase in enrolment requires more support in terms of resources such as infrastructure, teaching facilities and human resource among other essential resources. The VADF encourages partners to join hands in pursuing this life changing cause and in changing the future of South Sudan as a whole.
Alok Girls’ Academy is based on the themes of our first campus, the Marial Bai Secondary School. They include:
Diversity plays a significant role in our mission of creating peace through education. At MBSS, our students and graduates have expressed how meaningful it was to live and study with members of other tribes and residents of other countries. At the Alok Girls' Academy, we are recruiting teachers and students from all over South Sudan. Our highly trained teachers and staff are from South Sudan as well as the neighboring countries of Uganda and Kenya.
Our comprehensive curriculum creates real-world experiences for our students where they can bring their knowledge out of the classroom and into their communities. Chemistry class turns into business development and economic independence as our students learn how to make and then sell chalk, soap, and honey products.
AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
Teachers and staff will take part in hosting creative activities for the girls. Sports, art, dance, music, and extra tutoring are just a few examples of how the girls’ education will be enriched after classes and on some weekends.
ALUMNI NETWORK AND MENTORING
We are working to create a safe and supportive environment where the girls can complete secondary school. Our teachers and staff are predominantly women and can support the girls as they navigate the challenges of school and their lives at home. We are working with MBSS alumni to help mentor the girls as well. Our intention is to create an active alumni network that can provide support to our students.
Our students study by solar power and learn sustainable farming techniques to improve food security at the school and within their communities. The Alok Girls' Academy is located in a beautiful rural area where students can learn and then apply science-based and community-driven conservation techniques.
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.
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.