The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation


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 an 18-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. 


Find out more about South Sudan, VAD Foundation history, and those who make it possible.

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Marial Bai Secondary School has acted as the catalyst for progressive change for women in South Sudan by providing students an equal opportunity to learn STEM subjects.

In the past month, Girls' Globe and Women Deliver, both dedicated to raising awareness about global issues concerning the rights, health, and empowerment of women and girls, commended the VAD Foundation for its support of girls in South Sudan.

With more students, MBSS needed to expand the science lab; it is now the most advanced nationwide. Integrating science and vocational skills in every aspect of the MBSS curriculum is imperative to supporting overall development in our communities. One of the first experiments in the new lab was to show changing chemical properties through the production of soap. Not only did the students fulfill their textbook requirements, but they then recreated the process to the larger Marial Bai community.