Where Are They Now?

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

MARY ABUK KUUR BOL COMMUNITY MOBILIZER Mary was expected to quit school and get married after primary school. But when she saw her brother flourish at Marial Bai Secondary School, she decided that she wanted to go to high school before getting married. Mary did just that and joined the freshman class in 2011.       She fondly remembers playing basketball, reading in the library, and nightly study sessions under the school’s solar powered light bulbs. She remembers the diversity of the student body—it was the first time in her life that she was able to live with and befriend South Sudanese of different tribes.      After graduating, she got a job at Concern Worldwide, where she is currently a Community Mobilizer. Mary works with farming communities on ways to improve their increase food security. Mary is now married with two children and is the primary income earner in her family. 

MARY ABUK KUUR BOL
COMMUNITY MOBILIZER

Mary was expected to quit school and get married after primary school. But when she saw her brother flourish at Marial Bai Secondary School, she decided that she wanted to go to high school before getting married. Mary did just that and joined the freshman class in 2011. 
     She fondly remembers playing basketball, reading in the library, and nightly study sessions under the school’s solar powered light bulbs. She remembers the diversity of the student body—it was the first time in her life that she was able to live with and befriend South Sudanese of different tribes. 
    After graduating, she got a job at Concern Worldwide, where she is currently a Community Mobilizer. Mary works with farming communities on ways to improve their increase food security. Mary is now married with two children and is the primary income earner in her family. 


A NOTE FROM VALENTINO & DAVE South Sudan continues to face significant challenges. Since achieving independence from Sudan in 2011, the world’s newest country has suffered years of intermittent civil war and famine. But even in these dire times, young people go to extraordinary lengths to be educated. They, and we, see education as the only path out of the relentless cycle of civil war.    The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation is independent of the government of South Sudan, so even when the government cannot fund the country’s public schools, the Marial Bai Secondary School — consistently ranked among the best in South Sudan — can continue to operate. Your support makes this independence possible. And your support makes possible a new generation of well-educated young people with valuable diplomas.    Because South Sudan is a new country with a very low literacy rate, any high school graduate is sought-after for employment. Our graduates find work in international NGOs, healthcare nonprofits, the government of South Sudan, and as teachers themselves. Traditionally in South Sudan, many elementary school teachers are themselves recent graduates of secondary school.     Because the Marial Bai Secondary School is recognized as the one of the country’s best independent secondary schools, the government of South Sudan recently granted the VAD Foundation an entire campus, already built and ready to be populated with students. It had been constructed by another NGO, which could not operate it. Instead of allowing it to lay dormant, the VAD Foundation will, in 2018, transform it into the Alok Girls’ Academy, a boarding school for up to 144 young South Sudanese women.     There is no greater challenge, and no greater responsibility, than to make sure young women in South Sudan are able to pursue their educations without the pressure of domestic responsibilities and early marriage. With your help, we will make sure more and more young women achieve higher education and can then transform society in South Sudan. This is all possible thanks to your support.  We are truly grateful. 

A NOTE FROM VALENTINO & DAVE

South Sudan continues to face significant challenges. Since achieving independence from Sudan in 2011, the world’s newest country has suffered years of intermittent civil war and famine. But even in these dire times, young people go to extraordinary lengths to be educated. They, and we, see education as the only path out of the relentless cycle of civil war.
   The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation is independent of the government of South Sudan, so even when the government cannot fund the country’s public schools, the Marial Bai Secondary School — consistently ranked among the best in South Sudan — can continue to operate. Your support makes this independence possible. And your support makes possible a new generation of well-educated young people with valuable diplomas.
   Because South Sudan is a new country with a very low literacy rate, any high school graduate is sought-after for employment. Our graduates find work in international NGOs, healthcare nonprofits, the government of South Sudan, and as teachers themselves. Traditionally in South Sudan, many elementary school teachers are themselves recent graduates of secondary school. 
   Because the Marial Bai Secondary School is recognized as the one of the country’s best independent secondary schools, the government of South Sudan recently granted the VAD Foundation an entire campus, already built and ready to be populated with students. It had been constructed by another NGO, which could not operate it. Instead of allowing it to lay dormant, the VAD Foundation will, in 2018, transform it into the Alok Girls’ Academy, a boarding school for up to 144 young South Sudanese women. 
   There is no greater challenge, and no greater responsibility, than to make sure young women in South Sudan are able to pursue their educations without the pressure of domestic responsibilities and early marriage. With your help, we will make sure more and more young women achieve higher education and can then transform society in South Sudan.

This is all possible thanks to your support. 
We are truly grateful. 


What's New in 2018

ALOK GIRLS’ ACADEMY
In February 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 February 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.

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS
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. 

SUSTAINABILITY
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 

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PROJECTS WE’RE FUNDRAISING FOR
Alok Girls’ Academy — $150,000
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he 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.