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Local NGO launches back to learning campaign in Mayom County

By James Atem Kuir

The local peace agency, Action for Conflict Resolution (ACR) on Thursday launched a back to learning campaign to increase enrollment of children, especially girls in schools for the next academic year in Mayom County of Unity State.

The event organized by ACR with funding from the UN children agency, UNICEF featured speeches from the county education officials, teachers and parents as well as drama and poetry performance by pupils from various schools in attendance.

“In Mayom County here, girls are forced to marriage early before even completing primary education, and boys drop out to take care of cattle. So, the objective of this event today (Thursday) is to create awareness and encourage all parents to enroll children in school next year,” explained Joseph Batheng Khan, ACR education project officer in a phone interview with Juba Monitor from Mayom County.

According to UNICEF, more than two million children, or over 70 per cent, were out of school in South Sudan, putting at risk their futures and the future of the country.

The Children Agency said that majority of the out-of-school children live in pastoral communities, moving with their cattle, making it impossible to attend regular classes. The largest group of out-of-school children girls were driven away from education by poverty, forced marriage and cultural and religious among others, UNICEF noted.

Nyakeme Yuol Pech, 16 and pupil in Mankien Primary School said that she was disappointed that there were no as many girls as boys in school because parents preferred sending boys to study instead.

“There are not very many girls in my school. Education for girls is important. they will take care of their parents and bring more cows when they finish school,” said the primary six pupil.

 “It is not okay to force girls into marriage to get cows. It is not to only keep girls at home so that they cultivate, fetch water and cook. Let them go to school to learn so that they become leaders in the future,” she appealed.

Riek Madit Dalenga, a school teacher, said that the back-to-school campaign event has helped parents understand that girls and boys were equal in all capacities.

 Dalenga said the rights of a girl child should be promoted. That day, (Thursday) parents understood that a girl was a complete human. A girl child was as capable as a boy and there were no differences in their abilities, he said.

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