All smiles when school is back on

Children on the reopening of schools

Helene Sandbu Ryeng/Bullen Chol
A boy and his school book
11 January 2021

"It is super to be back," Emmanuel Wilson (8) says. "I almost forgot how to write when the school was closed."

At 26 November 2020, Dumak Primary School in Torit reopened after being closed for 251 days. In March, all schools across South Sudan were closed as a COVID-19 prevention measure. In October, candidate classes were given the green light and little by little teaching resumed in classrooms across the country. UNICEF has supported the Ministry of General Education and Instruction in preparing the reopening.

A girl smiling



"Thank God I'm back, most of my girls friends didn't make it. They have dropped out," Mary Biale Daniel is saying (16). "With the resumption of school, I can start chasing my dreams again." The longer children stay out of school, the harder it is to get them back to the classrooms, is UNICEF's experience and now also Mary's. Girls were married off early and some got pregnant while the schools were closed. They will most likely never return to school.



Sally Edina (17) is happy that the long days at home are over. "It was not good for me to stay home and do nothing. I would have too much time at home to think and some of my ideas were not good for me." 

"I tried to revise my books, but sometimes I was given too many chores, so I couldn't."



A girl looking at the camera smiling
two girls are sitting in a classroom smiling



"The best part about being back at school is to be back with my friends," Wafa Ramadan (16) says. She is sitting with her best friend Mary.

"I was so happy to see her again, we have been almost one year apart."



When the schools closed in March, Simon Leka Lino (15) was worried. He is in his final year in primary school and exam results matters. "It is great to be back, I'm learning again and I can discuss with my peers which is super." Some boys haven't returned. Without any prospect of when the schools could open, some joined gangs others became best friends with alcohol.

A boy smiling
Girl looking out the window



"We are back to school, that is the good news," says Josephine Bakhita "I can now sit my national exam, which I never thought I could sit."

"We all put our hands together and pray to the almighty God that corona should go forever."


UNICEF is advocating for and supporting the reopening of schools in South Sudan.

The education programme at Dumak Primary School in Torit is supported by the EU.

The Education in emergencies programme is supported by the Norwegian Nat.Com