In 2004, the Ayual Community Development Association, established Pongborong Primary School, which served 300 students. With the support of ACDA, the school has grown to serve approximately 800 students in grades one through eight. They are taught by 14 teachers. ACDA is particularly proud that its campaign to educate girls has been a success. PPS has almost an equal number of girls and boys, which is uncommon in many Sudanese schools. Still, the school faces many obstacles. Future funds will be used to train teachers, learning resources center, build additional permanent buildings for classrooms, provide stipends for teachers and cooks, purchase school supplies, desks, and more.
PPS teachers have no formal training and positions are unpaid, which makes it difficult to retain motivated teachers. ACDA strives to provide teachers with proper training and create a fund and sponsorship program that gives teachers a monthly living stipend.
Classrooms are made of mud and grass and must be rebuilt every two years. ACDA would like to build permanent structures with brick walls and iron sheet roofing and provide tables and chairs to improve the classroom environment. In April of 2009, our community partnered with the Lutheran World Federation to build one building with four classrooms. ACDA’s campaign is to raise additional funds to build four more classrooms and a teachers’ office to complete this project. In addition, most teachers and students walk more than 10km to reach school, leading to significant delays and absences. In December of 2008, our friends from Seattle, Washington purchased 14 bicycles for the teachers. Transportation continues to be a challenge to the students, who walk every day from various villages.
Uniforms play an instrumental role in a school that is working to maintain current students, enroll new ones, and reinforce the importance of education in a community that often depends upon children for day-to-day survival. In April of 2008, ACDA purchased uniforms for 400 students with the money raised by Chicago’s Eliza Mozer. In December of this year, we would like to complete this project and purchase the remaining uniforms for 14 teachers and 400 students.