South Sudan has seen countrywide unrest and is on the brink of a civil war. We sent out an overview on the current crisis here a few weeks back. Our students and even our founder Jok Nhial are directly affected. Millions of others have been affected by instability and fear and thousands have lost their lives. The atrocities committed on women, children, and the vulnerable are very very sad. Peace talks are still taking place and we dearly hope they lead to stability.
Below is how our organization will respond:
- We are very fortunate to run a scholarship program that is not handcuffed by the recent fighting. Our scholarship program provides higher education, a stable environment (they attend universities in Kenya and Uganda), and an opportunity for improved living. We are able to pull bright students out of South Sudan or displacement camps and provide them with a university education. We plan on significantly growing our scholarship program this year. We have a rolling application process, and have upwards of 30 students waiting for scholarships. If you or your organization would like to sponsor or partial sponsor a university student please let us know.
- We will be sending at least one and maybe multiple people over to East Africa to work in displacement camps. Shane Carlson, a wonderful advocate for our program (and just an amazing person in general) will be flying out mid-February. We are starting a campaign to raise awareness for his trip, donations, and items needed for those displacement camps.
- If you would like to give money for aid directly to an organization working in the affected areas like the UN, Doctors Without Borders, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, etc, contact us and we can give you a full list of those organizations and the work they are doing. If you would like us to donate on your behalf, please go to the donation section on our website here (see red button). All funds will be earmarked for humanitarian (relief) aid. We have a high level understanding of what organizations are working in the area and which ones we feel are most effective.
- We will save the capital funds raised for the building of our secondary school. We hope that South Sudan will come to a peace agreement sometime soon and we will be ready to build our school when the fighting ends and civilians return to their homes. We have money earmarked from outside organizations for the school and have made a promise to the community.
Ultimately, as an organization you must know how you can most efficiently and effectively help. We are good at education and as a small organization, must stay the course. We are also lucky to have a program that can run and run effectively given the unrest in South Sudan. South Sudan clearly lacks educated leadership and through our scholarship program, we aim to build these leaders through higher education. The UN reported that between 15,000 and 25,000 armed youth are currently fighting. Most of which have no idea why they are fighting. Most of them have no education.
Our friends in South Sudan greatly appreciate your love, concern, and prayers.
-Many Blessings and Love from the LEP