Alok Girls’ Academy in Aweil, South Sudan
Success Story from Marial Bai Secondary School Graduate
2nd Annual L.A. Celebrity Storytelling Event
Highlights from Valentino’s Speaking Engagements
Thank you for your support!
The VAD Foundation has big plans for 2018 and we need your help.
ALOK GIRLS’ ACADEMY
In 2018, the VAD Foundation will expand our commitment to girls' education in an unprecedented way. With your help, we will open our second campus, the Alok Girls' Academy, which will be the first all-girls boarding school in the region. Valentino has been working tirelessly to overcome the challenges of harsh road conditions and inflation to get the campus ready for our students, staff, and teachers.We aim to open in June 2018 with a class of 80 girls.
To support these efforts go HERE.
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 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.
Meet Valentino in April!
April 9 - Dinner with Valentino at Frasca in Boulder, Colorado
April 9 - 13 - Speaking events with the World Affairs Council, Boulder
April 17 - 18 - Portland, Oregon - Speaking events at PSU and World Oregon with Mercy Corps
April 22 - Storytelling Event in Los Angeles with Valentino
Please go to our Events page for details.
Our Graduates are Making a Difference
Ten years ago, Valentino Achak Deng and Dave Eggers founded the Marial Bai Secondary School to provide an exceptional education to the girls and boys of rural South Sudan. Since then, the school has become ranked one of the best schools in the country. Our students consistently score in the top percentile on the national exams. Marial Bai Secondary School is so successful that the South Sudanese government recently granted us a new, additional campus that we plan to open as the Alok Girls’ Academy, an all-girls boarding school. With your support, we are continuing to make a difference by offering peace through education in South Sudan.
Meet Our Students
What's New in 2018
ALOK GIRLS’ ACADEMY
In June 2018, we aim to open our second campus, a boarding school for girls called the Alok Girls’ Academy. Currently in South Sudan, less than 1% of young women finish high school. We chose the boarding school model to provide a safe and supportive environment where the girls can focus on their studies. The campus will be free from the distractions and demands of their lives at home, allowing the students to complete their studies and be deterred from early marriage. With your help, in June of 2018, we will open the school to 144 girls.
VOCATIONAL TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
Our comprehensive curriculum creates real-world experiences for our students. Chemistry class leads to business development and economic independence as our students learn how to make and then sell chalk, soap, and honey products. We are exploring ways to expand our vocational training opportunities for our students and our graduates.
Our students get the best possible education available in South Sudan. However, very few have the means to pay for college. We are now developing an endowment and a college placement program to better ensure that our high achieving students have a place in higher education.
Our students study by solar power and learn sustainable farming techniques to improve food security at the school and within their communities.
Where We Are Going
PROJECTS WE’RE FUNDRAISING FOR
Alok Girls’ Academy — $150,000
The government of South Sudan granted us a campus that we are transforming into a boarding school for 144 girls. Your support will help outfit the kitchen, build the teachers’ residences, and provide the students with bunk beds, mattresses, and school supplies.
Marial Bai Secondary School Renovations — $20,000
Help us repair the roof of our main campus.
Campus Supply Vehicle — $25,000
Help us minimize challenges around transportation costs by providing a vehicle that will support both our campuses. This vehicle will ensure that each school has the supplies it needs in addition to transporting staff and students when necessary..
EVERY DONATION HELPS
$5,000 can pay one teacher’s salary for an entire year.
$500 can send a girl to school for an entire year.
$75 can provide one set of science laboratory equipment.
$50 can provide one student’s textbook and school supplies for a year.
HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Donate — every penny counts!
Volunteer — as a small non-profit with a small staff, we have ongoing needs that could benefit from your assistance.
Connect us with universities that can provide scholarships for our most promising students.
Host a house party, dinner at your favorite restaurant, or read What Is the What and include a fundraiser as part of your book club.
I will be taking my first trip to East Africa this June and July. it will a strategic trip that is meant to make new business ties with organizations that want to partner and grow with us as we expand our work in vocational education, girls’ education and university scholarships for our MBSS graduates.
Zawadi Education, which provides scholarships to gifted African secondary school girl graduates.
Andela, 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.
In South Sudan, I will follow-up with NGOs that are potential partners such as Norwegian Refugee Council, Concern Worldwide, USAID VISTAS, Girls' Education South Sudan; University of Juba, UN Mission in South Sudan including UNICEF and World Food Program.
As a development professional with over seven years of field experience, I will also perform key programmatic tasks, such as:
1) Map out the stakeholders in South Sudan's education industry and the performance of their projects, meet with them and understand how decision making is made in these donor and implementation organizations, get a sense of their outlook for the next year or two in South Sudan.
2) In Aweil, research for designing the South Sudan Employment Initiative, get a sense of what buildings are available, what other NGOs are doing in the TVET (technical vocational education and training) and working with out-of-school youth to give them economic opportunities.
3) Strategic planning with field staff.
4) Collect stories from the students, teachers and members of the local community.
5) Meet with alumni from last year’s class and other alumni from previous years.
6) Collect other information required for grants and major donors.
If you're interested in arranging a personal presentation after I return in late July, please email me at email@example.com.
Yvonne Chen (M.A. International Development Studies)