Two years ago, Basamat Osman Tome, a woman from Blue Nile State in Sudan was training to be a teacher with JRS in Maban South Sudan. She was hopeful about the future at that time and had come top of her class in first semester exams. We have had an update about the situation in Maban from IJI’s Tim Flynn, and are delighted to learn that Basamat has achieved her goal of becoming a fully qualified teacher. In an interview, she shared her feelings about the experience and what she has learned since we last heard from her.
Background and starting course
Basamat had already been working as a primary teacher, from 2016 to 2018, but had never received any training. She left her job to take part in a JRS course, so that she could earn the qualifications that would allow her to be employed as a teacher anywhere.
When she started the course, Basamat realised that what she had been doing up to that point was not the correct way to teach. She said “When I was teaching [before], I was teaching without a scheme of work, without some plan, without using teaching learning aides. But when I went there they taught us how to plan scheme of work, and use some plans and also how to use teaching learning aides while teaching. “When the time came for the teachers to practise their new skills in a classroom Basamat reported feeling proud of herself “because I really taught nice and learners were really participating”.
Before I joined this course, I was really worried. Will I really get a chance to complete my studies? I had not finished my secondary school but I applied to be a teacher. When when I joined the course I really felt happy. And the hope that was lost, again it grew once in my heart and I went.
Basamat has had her studies interrupted several times in her life, for reasons beyond her control. She credits JRS with giving her hope, saying “Before I joined this course, I was really worried. Will I really get a chance to complete my studies? I had not finished my secondary school but I applied to be a teacher. When when I joined the course I really felt happy. And the hope that was lost, again it grew once in my heart and I went. But also in the training, they got for us a chance to finish our secondary school, and they taught us until we sat for our Senior 4 Certificate and I passed. Not only that, I passed also Teacher Training Certificate! The hope that I lost, grew again and I was really happy to have all of these certificates because of JRS, and I am really proud. “
She is grateful for the chance she has received because of JRS teacher training and expressed a hope that it continues so others can take advantage of it. Already, in the four refugee camps in Maban – Gendrassa, Kaya, Batil, Doro, teachers have been trained, and have the skills and certification to do the job properly, which will have a positive effect on the quality of learning that the children in the camps will receive.
Learning from conflict resolution
JRS also provides English lessons for refugees, especially girls and Basamat said that girls in the camps are asking for more classes after the Covid-10 lockdown ends. She reported that the attendees on her course were mixed and of different backgrounds – some from Doro camp, some from the host community in Maban, and refugees from other camps. This intermingling of different people led to some conflict but JRS was good at helping them to sort out their differences and come together, and the experience has made them closer in many ways. She said “Some people were telling us not to go but we are searching for knowledge. We don’t want to hate. When we are there we are really, we shared a lot of things together. We did not ask for other things, we shared one class, one rooms. Also the meals we shared together, pens, books we shared together. Because we were teachers and trained by JRS, we really developed co-existence among us and I hope this will continue everywhere.”
I ask all the teachers around in these four camps to continue bringing peace among us. Because they say that the teacher is the change in the community, I hope that in your community when you are teaching sends the right message to the pupils and brings peace among all of us.
Basamat appealed for a continuation of this harmony, saying “I ask all the teachers around in these four camps to continue bringing peace among us. Because they say that the teacher is the change in the community, I hope that in your community when you are teaching sends the right message to the pupils and brings peace among all of us. Because we are teachers and we were trained by JRS, we have to bring the peace among all the four camps. Now we are developed socially, morally, when we are together and I thank JRS for that and other partners that helped JRS to do that work.”
Basamat is happy to have gained qualifications that will be of use to her beyond South Sudan, saying “I am really proud of myself”. On a practical level she is also relieved that she can earn enough money to help support her family and look after her own needs.