UNICEF Sudan distributes school supplies for the first time in over ten years to Gorlangbang
As children prepare to go back to school in Sudan over 800 boys and girls in Darfur’s Gorlangbang elementary school received school supplies for the first time in ten years.
Gorlangbang, is a remote village in the southern mountains of Jebel Marra. It is a six-hour walk to the top of the mountain, and about 155 KM from South Darfur’s capital, Nyala, and the only way to reach there is by foot, donkey or a camel. Gorlangbang is a mountainous village and is one of the largest in the Jebel Marra area with a population of approximately 125,000 people, including Internally Displaced (IDPs). Due to conflict in the area, many who were displaced fled to seek safety in this area which had been inaccessible to humanitarians for over ten years until June 2020 where UNICEF and its partners were able to access and assess the situation to further support the community. The area lacks basic necessities, including safe drinking water, health care centers and proper school infrastructures.
There are over 40 basic and secondary schools in Gorlangbang and are in far distances for many villages, students usually walk one to two hours daily. The school environments are very poor and lack infrustructure, students and teachers do not have desks and usually sit on stones. Unfortunately, all the schools lack the basic neccesities including water facilities, toilets, recreational areas, fencing and feeding programs. Since 2010, there has been no capacity building directed to teachers and parent-teacher-associations (PTA). There are only two teachers in Gorlangbang who under payroll, the rest of the teachers are volunteers.
In addition to the lack of infrustructure in schools, only sixty percent of children are in school while the forty percent remain out of school due to the high level of poverty levels in the area. Many girls in Gorlangbang remain out of school due to early child marriage.
After accessing Gorlangbang for the first time in June 2020, UNICEF was able to analyze the situation of education there and quickly act. UNICEF then returned in November 2020 with much needed school supplies including recreational kits, and teacher kits for over 800 school children in Gorlangbang elementary school. UNICEF will continue to deliver supplies throughout the area for students in surrounding schools. This is part of a long term plan to help train teachers, rehabilitate and build new clasrooms in addition to providing water, hygiene and sanitation services (WASH) like toilets and running water.
Volunteer teachers in a fifth grade classroom, where students have no seating and sit on stones instead.
Second grade students in Gorlangbang Elementary School sit outside for their lesson, do not have a proper classroom.
To reach children with school supplies UNICEF used camels to transport, as it is the only mode of transportation to Gorlangbang.
UNICEF Education officer Yahia Ahmed starts distribution plan with the teachers at Gorlangbang Elementary school.
Teachers at Gorlangbang Elementary school begin distribution of backpacks to students.
UNICEF Education officer Yahia Ahmed, gives students a quick briefing on the importance of continuing Education before the distribution of school supplies begins.
Teachers begin distribution, some female teachers have to bring their babies with them as they have no other option, this is all to ensure that students continue to learn.
Though they are sitting on stones and the classroom has no ceiling, these children were very excited about their new backpacks. Giving them hope for a brighter future.
Children are happy about their new supplies and share the excitement by raising their new notebooks. Every child deserves quality education.
UNICEF will continue to support Gorlangbang by providing teacher trainings, help build and rehabilitate schools, build latrines and ensure that children have access to clean water in the school.
With thanks to our partners; Muslim World League and the European Union for supporting UNICEF’S intervention programs in newly accessible and conflict affected areas in Jebel Marra.