June 16th is an international day dedicated to the children of Africa and commemorates those killed during the Soweto Uprising in South Africa. On June 16, 1976, thousands of black schoolchildren in South Africa led a series of protests and demonstrations. The students were protesting and pushing back on discrimination and government-sanctioned apartheid within the student community.
Twenty years after state-sanctioned violence and oppression the uprising brought about the ‘South African Schools Act’ which put an end to mandatory segregation in South African schools. The law also made primary education compulsory for all children starting at the age of 7.
Today, as well as commemorating the brave student protests, the international day continues to advocate for education for all and raises awareness of the ongoing need to improve education for children in Africa.
Last year, we fundraised for the building of classroom blocks in a village in South Sudan where women farmers like Deborah and Mary, worried for their children’s futures.
Since 2011 and in partnership with the Jesuits of East Africa, IJI has been funding the Multi-educational and Agricultural Jesuit Institute of South Sudan (MAJIS) which sought to address food insecurity to an entire county, roughly 288 villages. The project focuses on women and knowledge transfer for sustainable farming, good agricultural practice & appropriate land use.
The MAJIS project has had a huge impact on the lives of local women. In Easter last year we focused on the needs of the local children at the informal primary school, which was set up by the Jesuits to educate the children of the adult farmers at MAJIS.
With your help our Easter Appeal raised the much-needed funds to build classroom blocks to cater for 250 children over the next 3 years. Without this school, children must walk 12km to the nearest school. This journey is too long and far too dangerous with risk of abuse and violence. Without the MAJIS informal primary school, most children would be without schooling, remaining in the fields while their mothers farm in order to provide for their families.
Thanks to your support and generosity last year – the classroom build is nearly complete!
The construction project is more than just bricks and mortar but will educate for future generations to come!