Juba, South Sudan
Update from our U.S. Director 

Dear Supporters,

I will be making my first trip to South Sudan and Kenya in June and July. It will be a strategic trip to establish new partnerships with organizations that can enable us to expand our work in vocational education and girls’ education and to begin to offer university scholarships to our Marial Bai Secondary School (MBSS)  graduates. Potential partners include:

Zawadi Education Fund in Kenya, which provides scholarships to gifted African secondary school female graduates.

Andela in Kenya, which provides a prestigious vocational training course to Africa’s best and brightest software programmers.

FilmAid Kenya, which works with youth in Kakuma Refugee Camp and other groups to provide arts and film training. For example, they are known for their campaign to bring refugee stories to the global public through their #teamrefugees campaign.

BRCK, which provides appropriate hardware technology for remote learners, including tablets that allow school children to learn even if their teacher is absent and there is limited electricity.

Xavier Project, which teaches multimedia literacy to South Sudanese refugees living in Nairobi.

If you're interested in arranging a personal presentation after I return in late July, please email me at yvonne@vadfoundation.org.


Yvonne Chen (M.A. International Development Studies)

Update about Famine in South Sudan

On February 20th famine was declared in Unity State in South Sudan. What are the causes of the famine? Aid workers cannot get past armed areas. The war economy has made food too expensive for poor people. Displaced people are unable to plant and harvest despite South Sudan’s plentiful rainfall and fertility. And livestock raiding is rampant.


      100,000 people are experiencing famine in Unity State, which is located in northeastern South Sudan, about 15 hours from Marial Bai. 

       4.9 million people (42%) require urgent food assistance.

     Over a quarter of a million children are severely malnourished.

Battles are raging in many parts of South Sudan where famine could spread. The map below shows where there has been conflict since December 2013. The closest conflict to Marial Bai was in Wau, in Western Bahr el Ghazal. While Northern Bahr el Ghazal (the state where Marial Bai is located) remains peaceful, youth in Northern Bahr el Ghazal are frequent targets for recruitment by armed groups and thousands of internally displaced people fled to Northern Bahr el Ghazal for safety. The inaccessibility of Northern Bahr el Ghazal to main transport routes has led to extremely high food prices.

Learn How People Are Helping!
A Recap of L.A. Fundraiser: Stories of Discovery, Aiding Famine Relief

On April 23rd, the VAD Foundation hosted a celebrity storytelling event in Los Angeles.  It raised over $10,000 in combined ticket sales and pledges to help combat the current food crises in the four worst-hit countries, including South Sudan.   Donations will also support MBSS's maize program, which will distribute food grown on the school's farm to those in need in the community.  

Taylor Grant read from his short story collection Dark at the End of the Tunnel. Writer and creator of the award winning series, "I'm Special And So Am I" Juliette Cohen, writer and illustrator Chris Noxon, LA storyteller Henry Mortensen, film and television director Allan Arkush, and "Moth" winner and stand-up comic Jenna Brister each spoke about discovery. We look forward to hosting our 2nd Annual L.A. Storytelling event next year!

Left to Right: Taylor Grant, Juliette Cohen, Christopher Noxon, Henry Mortensen, Allan Arkush, Jenna Brister 

Valentino Achak Deng, unable to attend the event, sent the following statement from Juba: 

“In South Sudan, I have met people who have fled their homes, lost everything and who are living in camps. In Marial Bai, where our boarding school is, there are many people like this. There are also many ordinary poor people who are opening their homes and sharing everything they have with those who are fleeing. We are determined to survive.”

Brand New Events Page!

Host a house party to raise money for a cause that inspires you!

Would you like to share your commitment to the VAD Foundation with friends and family? We are looking for new Ambassadors across the country interested in hosting events. Our VAD Foundation Ambassadors have hosted house parties, supper clubs, raffles and cocktail hours, engaging their communities to support our work.  If you'd like to participate, please contact Cara, our project assistant at info@vadfoundation.org.

Donors have been incredibly generous and creative. A particular highlight: With the help of friends, a VAD Foundation Ambassador organized a four-day luxury couples’ weekend auction that raised over $17,000 for our solar power installation.

Thanks so much for your support. You make our work possible! 

Start the Change You Want to See!
"We must provide children with education. 
It's the best way to save them and for South Sudan to end the cycle of wars."

 - UNICEF, July 11, 2016
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