Supermodel Mari Malek visits her home South Sudan
Supermodel and actress Mari Malek
By Sarah Kiko
South Sudanese supermodel and actress Mari Malek is in town. She is the Executive Director of Stand4education-an organization dedicated to empowering children and women through education and arts. Mari hails from Yirol.
Last week, Malek visited South Sudan for the third time on behalf of her organization. She went to the village of Atiaba, Rumbek County where she spent four days at Hope Secondary school, to see a project partnered in.
“Most schools in South Sudan are lacking a meal plan for their students due to famine and mass starvation especially in rural and remote areas such as Atiaba,” Malek said.
She added that she was grateful for the support of the partner organization Hope For Humanity for providing a meal plan for the students at Hope Secondary School. Malek also donated some school supplies and dignity kits to the school.
Mari Malek with the girls of Hope Secondary school
After spending time with the students, Malek said she was putting herself in the shoes of the students and wanted to understand the challenges they were facing. When she was there, the women cooked lunch for 281 students and 98 girls who live in the school dormitory.
Supermodel Mari said although the students were fed two meals a day, they were facing many challenges and missing breakfast which is the most important meal of the day.
“The 98 girls who live in the compound eat dinner at around 7pm and have to wait till the next day lunch at 1pm,” Mari said. “It’s hard to concentrate at school on an empty stomach. The children are already facing many difficulties in their daily lives, education is their only hope,” the supermodel concluded.
Stand For Education organization has sponsored 100 girls at Hope Secondary School just to keep them in school. The initiative was to empower girls and provide access to education for under privileged children.
A platform to bring light to an often-ignored plight and help to inspire and introduce opportunities to South Sudanese women and children whose lives have been torn apart by the violence and inhumanity of war.
“I left my country when I was very young, but I have never forgotten where I came from. This is why I am returning and invested in putting awareness on the value of quality education for South Sudan,” Mari said.
“Education is what will lead our country into peace and prosperity. We South Sudanese have been suffering for far too long. Most of us were born during the war and all we have known is war and violence,” she added.
She said it was for south Sudanese to claim their dignity and become the change they want to see.
“It is time we come together united and standing in solidarity for peace and love for one another. It is time for the world to stand with South Sudan because all we want is Peace,” Malek said.