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Her Highness Sheikha Maitha Bint Mohammed of the UAE underlines every child’s right to education on first visit to Sudan

KHARTOUM/JUBA, 1 October 2007 -  On her first visit to Sudan, Her Highness Sheikha Maitha Bint Mohammed Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates spoke of the fundamental importance of education, as she toured schools supported by UNICEF.

Her Highness Sheikha Maitha came to Sudan as a special envoy of her father, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.  The visit of Her Highness is part of the Dubai Cares initiative which was launched by His Highness the Sheikh this year, and which seeks to raise funds to educate one million children in poor countries. 

The campaign is Dubai’s contribution to the U.N. Millennium Development Goal of ensuring universal primary education by 2015.

“Dubai Cares believes in every child’s right to education and is committed to ensuring that no child is denied an education. I wanted to tell the children we are here to help them,” said Her Highness Sheikha Maitha.

“The visit of Her Highness could not have come at a better time. Education is a major priority for the Government and people of Southern Sudan.  We are very grateful for the efforts she made to come and see the situation at hand,” said Peter Crowley, UNICEF’s Director of Operations in Southern Sudan.  

Watching a group of singing and dancing school children at Kuku A Primary School in the southern Sudanese city of Juba, Her Highness Sheikha Maitha said “I am touched by the warmth and strength of these children, a testament to their will to live well and learn. We owe it to them to keep their hopes alive.”

The Kuku Primary School was built as an initiative of residents displaced from their homes 100 miles from Juba during Sudan’s civil war, but who were determined to provide children with an opportunity to learn.  The school now accommodates 881 students, including 357 girls.

His Excellency Professor Lokulenge Lole, Acting Minister of Education of the Government of Southern Sudan, joined the children and school headmaster in welcoming the Dubai Cares delegation.  He also briefed Her Highness Sheikha Maitha on the situation of education in Southern Sudan and efforts being made by the Government in the education sector.

At Juba One Girls’ School, members of the school’s Girls’ Education Movement Club sang and danced for the visitors. The songs expressed messages of hope and encouragement for girls to go to school. Juba One has 960 girls enrolled and is one of the few permanent schools located in Juba. 

Both Kuku A Primary School and Juba One Girls’ School receive support from UNICEF through the State Ministry of Education of Central Equatoria, including textbooks, teaching kits and student stationery kits.  Teachers at Kuku A Primary School have also benefited from training courses supported by UNICEF. 

Her Highness Sheikha Maitha also travelled to Khartoum where she visited the Mustapha Hamad School for Girls and was briefed by senior government officials.  Her Highness Sheikha Maitha was accompanied by His Excellency Isa Abdullah Al Bashah Al Nu’aimi, the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Sudan. 

Note for Editors
The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on 9 January 2005 ended more than two decades of civil war between the north and south of Sudan and led to the formation of the Government of National Unity (GoNU) in the north and the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) in the south.  UNICEF seized this opportunity to deliver ‘peace dividends’ to the children and women in Southern Sudan.  Some 1.3 million children – 30 per cent of them girls – are now going to school.  This is a significant increase from the wartime enrolment estimates of about 343,000.  In addition, 18 permanent four-classroom schools have been constructed and about 19 others rehabilitated.  This means a better learning environment for about 10,000 children.  In addition, 4 million textbooks and teachers guides’ have been delivered to schools across all 10 states of Southern Sudan. 

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Amor Almagro, Communication Officer, UNICEF Southern Sudan: Tel +254 73 396 1944 and +8821643341501


 

 

 

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