By keeping South Sudanese children in school in Omdurman, North Sudan, and helping their single mothers earn a decent living, our Omdurman Family Project fights the causes and effects of extreme poverty.
The long civil war in South Sudan destabilized communities and pushed millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) northward. When the peace agreement was signed in 2005, many IDPs returned to South Sudan but came back because poverty was worse (or security was bad) in their original areas. Others did not have the money to return home. Most IDPs live in extreme poverty in Omdurman and Khartoum and work in unskilled jobs with long hours, often far from their homes in the slums. Single mothers head the majority of IDP households, and many IDP children drop out of school to help earn money for their families. Only 60 percent of IDP children in North Sudan complete primary school.
Hope Ofiriha hopes to expand our reach and help women and children from South Sudan rebuild their lives in Omdurman, North Sudan. As a pilot project, we are helping a family of six: Ms. Alia, a divorced mother; her four children; and her elderly mother. The family was left destitute after Ms. Alia’s husband divorced her and refused to pay child support. As a divorced woman, she is shunned by her community, and Sudan has no social services to help her and her children. Our Omdurman Family Project pays for school fees for her children, basic living expenses, clothes, and medical expenses. We also plan to give Ms. Alia a microloan to help her start her own business and—assuming a favorable political climate and future funding—help additional women-headed households in the area.
Potential Long-Term Impact
Keeping IDP children in school will give them a ticket out of poverty. Educated girls will eventually be able to give their own families a good start in life. Educated boys will be able to escape a family cycle of hard labor.
This will ripple to their families and community. Helping single mothers earn a decent living will give them the confidence to transform their lives and their community.