HELPSudan is an Illinois 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by The Lost Boys of Sudan to restore the hope and dignity of the people still living in and returning to South Sudan.
For several years after Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, South Sudan was being repopulated by previously displaced Sudanese. The refugees were moving back home to communities without the infrastructure to supply or maintain schools. Due to the lack of resources, communities often become reliant on relief organizations to provide them with basic needs such as food and water. HELPSudan believes that by providing an education the Sudanese will learn to rebuild their communities, preserve their culture, and work together to restore the greatness of South Sudan.
All of our programs are designed to be owned and operated by the communities that they serve. It is our goal to simply provide the community with the resources they need to build a sustainable program. For instance, the community in Bor built the mud huts at Thianwe and HELPSudan initially provided a stipend for the teachers. As the school grew, the then provisional government in South Sudan (GOSS) recognized the success of the program and adopted the teachers’ salaries, but still did not have the resources to provide a permanent structure. So, one of the founders, Jok, and a team from HELPSudan travelled to the school to bring building supplies and train the community in Bor to make bricks that will be used for a permanent structure. These initiatives also serve to help us connect with the community and increase their sense of ownership of the school.
FILLING THE GAP
HELPSudan serves to fulfill the educational needs of communities in South Sudan. Our goal is to provide children in war-torn South Sudan with the educational opportunities they deserve, through fundraising based in the United States and supporters that span 4 continents. Our programs have included recruiting school administration, integrating community involvement, providing funding to teachers and administrators, constructing school buildings, drilling water wells for the school campus, and covering tuition and funds for boarding school.
While HELPSudan believes that education is the only long-term solution, we also understand the immediate need for resources such as food and water. So, we drill wells on the school campuses to provide students and the surrounding community a source of clean drinking water. We have also partnered with Catholic Relief Services in the past to provide meals for students.
HELPSudan works with employees on the ground in South Sudan to make sure we are making the most sustainable and conscientious decisions regarding our investment into the community. In 2015 we made the difficult decision to suspend our support of the school in Thianwe as well as ongoing projects in Marang and Bor in response to continuing intertribal violence. It became clear that encouraging students to remain in an area that was unsafe or unstable was counter to our goals. While staying in synch with our mission, but responsive to current instability, HELPSudan pivoted to providing boarding school tuition to students from our school in Thianwe and the surrounding area.