PES has financed three schools in rural villages in southern Sudan. It works in partnership with the villagers themselves and promotes a sustainable model in which the Sudanese themselves take a leading role. PES emphasizes the inclusion of girls in the opportunities it promotes and takes steps, such as providing grinding mills, which free up the girls from their domestic chores so they can go to school. PES now has a representative on the ground in Sudan to monitor construction, etc. PES has significant connections in southern Sudan which allow it to successfully deliver services in a country where years of civil war have destroyed any infrastructure. Southern Sudan is perhaps the neediest country on earth when it comes education. PES is doing the best work out there in this area.
There is something amazing about the small role one can play, watching a nation being built one village at a time. Project Education Sudan (PES) was founded on the simple principles of community, self-sufficiency and hope for the people of southern Sudan through the support of indigenous organizations that make primary, secondary and adult education available for all. These principles I have always believed in, but what I experience in Sudan with PES was the product of these lived principles within three amazing communities in Jonglei. Talking with the teachers, community elders, and students within each of these villages brought home how important sustainable community partnerships are in birthing nations after long civil wars.I have spent time in Africa over the last 20 years working in leadership development and the amount relationship development and project completion that PES has been able to accomplish in the last 5 years is simple astounding.
I started volunteering with Project Education Sudan (PES) in its early stages as an organization so I had the opportunity to witness much of the growth that took place at the beginning. A big part of what makes PES a success is the tireless work of the volunteers which run it, and especially the fearless CEO Carol Rinehart with the support of her husband Richard Rinehart. With an all unpaid staff (at least when I left to go to graduate school in the UK) a higher percentage than normal in most non-profits of donation money makes it to the people who actually need it. What also makes PES stand out is the fact they have Sudanese working as part of the staff. Having people with firsthand knowledge of the project areas, and with connections there, is absolutely priceless. In the context of this website, and empowering women, PES definitely belongs to have a place. My background is in community water and sanitation, and I am very proud of the model PES used even before I joined on, which is to drill a well at each of the school locations. This enables local girls to go to the newly built schools rather than spending all day fetching water for the family at some distant well. PES has always put the importance of equal education at the forefront of everything they do, and this I think is very unique.
PES does now have a paid "dry season" Jan-June contract Field Coordinator Panther Kelei which I worked to train this past trip to Sudan Jan-March. He has provided invaluable field reports with images of school construction and programs in progress for our donors and newsletters. We are paying him with support from other PES partners sharing the cost of his salary. It enables our PES philosophy of empowering the Sudanese in leadership development and creating a sustainable culture at each school site. We are now a registerd NGO with the government of Southern Sudan and able to work with CARE , UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services, JAM, World Food Programme, Save the Children among other international and indigenour NGO's operating in Southern Sudan.
I have been involved with non-profit organizations and fund raising for decades (I have been involved in that time with raising nearly a billion dollars). The two questions I have to answer most often is are the fund raising costs low (will my money go to the non-profit organization to do some good or is it going to overhear) and what does the organization do with the money. From personal experience with PES, the costs of the organization are VERY low. In addition, money raised goes to building schools and the ancillary needs that aid education (grinders so women can grind grain grain as they are expected to do AND go to school). It is a five star organization to me!!!
PES is now working with the government of South Sudan. We are now a registered NGO and work directly with the Ministry of Education both at a state and county level. We also work with GoSS at the county, village levels as well. It has provided us the necessary documents that allows us to fully participate with the country, state and local levels.
The Women's College at the University of Denver, where I teach, is an undergraduate program for nontraditional women. We formed a "sister school" program with the boarding primary girls school in Southern Sudan. To celebrate our partnership, the students raised funds to purchase 600 bookpacks and 1600 pairs of underwear for the young girls at the school. The bookpacks and underwear were delivered in January 2010. The pictures of the girls receiving our gifts and the stories were wonderful. They were so appreciative and our TWC students were so impressed with the motivation of the Ayak Anguei students and with Project Education Sudan's commitment to the education of young females.
The relationship PES has with The Women's College University of Denver has been a very empowering experience for the girls at the only all girls primary school, Ayak Anguei in the area that PES helps build. The book packs filled with panties are an out ward symbol of pride for the girls that says" I am a student who is getting an education in a country where not too many girls have the opportunity". They wear them with pride and confidence!Thank you Dr. Carol Zak Dance for the inspiration you have provided for your women students to be able to fully participate in making a significant difference in the lives of girls in Sudan.
As a donor of PES, I know the money I contibuted toward the much needed dormitories makes a direct impact on the lives of the girls at Ayak Anguei. PES brings back field reports from their annual trips and shares the progress and delightful antidotes of some of the over 600 girls who attend the only all girls school in the area. The girl's pride in their school and education is a very precious gift that I can help bring to them through the relationship Project Education Sudan has personally developed in the villages where they help build educational infrastructure. It is important to me that PES supports, encourages and empowers the girls and women of the school villages they work with.
Thank you for your support for the much needed dormitory that is now under construction! We are hoping to raise the funds for the other dorm this coming year so the other girls don't have to sleep on the groud of the classrooms at night, warding off scorpions and snakes!
Being an intern with PES was a great experience. The people who work with PES are friendly, highly collaborative, and very creative. Everyone is passionate about what PES does for the communities in Southern Sudan and women. Every cent of their funding goes towards their meaningful and impacting projects. They are transparent in the way they work and make the money raised go as far as possible in the villages they visit and work with. From grinding mills and sewing machines to all girls' schools, PES emphasizes and encourages empowerment and sustainability of women. It is clear that efforts like this are what really catalyzes change in countries like Southern Sudan and around the world.
The Women's College of the University of Denver became a sister school of the Ayak Angui Girls' School in Southern Sudan. The students wanted to send something meaningful and useful to the girls so we raised funds to purchase book packs, stuffed them with panties (a much needed item for the girls), photos and letters. The girls we so appreciative of the encouragement and support! TWC students also assisted PES at the Annual Art & Artifacts Benefits where we got to view artwork and artifacts of Southern Sudan and connect with the Lost Boys and other members of PES who reminded us why the work we were doing together was so very important.
Project Education Sudan is one of few organizations working directly with local communities in rural Southern Sudan to enhance education in the area, especially for girls and women. PES not only helps the communities build schools for girls to attend, but also provides grain grinders to free up the girls from the daily chore of grinding the grain by hand (a very time consuming task that can often prevent a girl from being able to attend school). With the help of Project Education Sudan, these children are given an opportunity for a better future and most importantly hope. It is a privledge to work with such a dedicated and integral organization like Project Education Sudan.
Project Education Sudan is an organization who values the relationships of all they serve. They work in partnership with and respect the decisions and perspectives of the community leaders they work together with. Their actions speak for them. They truly work toward promoting self sufficiency and sustainabilty and develop capable and strong Sudanese leadership in all they do. Their promotion of women's empowerment and focus on the girl child is a corner stone of their work. I find working with PES is a honor and has been a life changing experince for me. All they do is top drawer and executed with courtesy, respect and integrity.