In the midst of turbulence in South Sudan, New Hope Schools continue to educate girls and boys in the Diocese of Kajo Keji.
Thanks to a peace agreement signed by President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Reik
Machar last September, New Hope representatives report that it is now safer to travel more freely in-and-out of Kajo Keji. This relative calm in the country has sparked hope that buildings that had fallen out of use in the New Hope school system can be repaired and utilized once again.
New Hope is a ministry of the Diocese of Bethlehem, in partnership with the Diocese of Kajo Keji, that aims to revitalize Kajo Keji and surrounding areas. The main focus of New Hope is to provide quality education to children in Kajo Keji. With the help of gifts from parishes and individuals around the Diocese of Bethlehem, over five million dollars has been raised and five primary schools, a high school, and a college have been built since New Hope’s inception.
“The vision was that we were going to create a school system,” said the Rev. Charlie Barebo, Missioner for Stewardship & Development. “This was something that talked to people’s hearts and people were just so responsive.”
Due to the recent civil war in South Sudan, many former residents have gone into exile in Uganda, where temporary schools have been created. There are currently over 2500 children being educated at New Hope’s temporary schools, over half of whom are girls.
“51 percent of the students are female, and this is a male-dominated society,” said Barebo. “That’s just one of those things that we’ve insisted on.”
Now that the peace agreement has gone into effect, residents who had been in exile are now returning, which is creating a need to expand and repair the original buildings in the New Hope school system.
“We’ve had relationships with these people for 12 years now…It’s time to see how we can help them return from exodus,” said Barebo. “I’m hoping we can raise the funds to get these schools back up so that these kids can get an education.”
If you would like to contribute to New Hope, you can send donations with “New Hope” in the memo to:
Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015