August 2013 Updates

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Thank you for your generous response to our last e-mail! We stressed that we needed $30,000 by the end of August to secure the appropriate equipment for the harvest and create a position at the school for an agriculture specialist to oversee both farms that directly benefit Marial Bai Secondary School. We are about halfway to our goal! Our newsletter recipients gave donations from $10-$1,500, but we aren't there yet. Every gift makes a difference! 

This month, the UN News Service released a report that 4 million people are affected by food insecurity in South Sudan. The acute malnutrition rate for children under 5 is nearly double the global average. In a country where the average citizen's age is 16-years-old, agricultural skills and creating sustainable food sources for the young and growing population are imperative. 

"Because decades of war often forced people from their land, South Sudan as a whole lost much of its agricultural knowledge base. As a result most of South Sudan's food is imported, despite significant arable land, plentiful land, and good quality soil." -USAID

The Valentino Achak Deng foundation is directly impacting this lost knowledge base by including agriculture in the science curriculum at MBSS and creating a teach-back mentality the community at large. The watermelon, pumpkin, maize, groundnuts, rice, and sorghum planted by students in June is in full growth! Teaching agricultural skills in addition to the secondary school curriculum is endlessly beneficial to the larger South Sudanese community, but we can't continue our sustainable farm project without your help! The farms at Marial Bai Secondary School not only provide food security for the 300 individuals at MBSS—students, teachers, and staff—but also the surrounding community. 

At the end of August, students took exams and left for a short break over the rainy season. Our teachers were extremely impressed with each student's progress and cannot wait for them to return next week! The new semester holds great opportunities for all of our returning students. You make these opportunities possible by sponsoring a student for $21 a month or by providing a girls' education scholarship of $300 a year. 

By supporting the VAD Foundation and the Marial Bai Secondary School, you are empowering the future leaders of South Sudan with the education and skills to care of their communities. If you are unable to give financially, please share our story with a friend. Follow us onFacebook and Twitter for daily updates on MBSS and progress in South Sudan!

Donate to help the Marial Bai Secondary School sustain our farms that serve the Marial Bai community, provide free meals, fund teacher training and continue to give the gift of education to a developing nation.

Thank you for all that you do!

The VAD Foundation

Yvonne Chen