More than 190 children returning to Gunyoro village near Torit in Eastern Equatoria have resumed school activities, albeit under difficult circumstances.
“During the 2016 crisis, this school closed because our people were scattered. They ran into the mountains, to neighbouring villages, or to Torit for their safety,” Eugenio Eryong, headteacher at what remains of Gunyoro primary school, tells a visiting team from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
Some of the dilapidated buildings lack roofs, which means that young learners sometimes have to gather under suitable trees for classes to take place.
With the arrival of peace, some 600 families have voluntarily returned to their original home area. The recent formation of a transitional government of national unity has further strengthened the optimism of the citizens of Gunyoro, but while the number of pupils is rapidly rising, serious challenges remain.
“We have the learners, but we have no chalk, no blackboards, no exercise books and no pens, which means that most of the pupils are simply writing on the ground,” says Mr. Eryong.
The schoolchildren are being taught by three volunteer teachers. They are passionate about their work but frustrated by the lack of available resources.
“We are requesting assistance from local authorities to supply books and pens and also to consider paying salaries to the teachers,” says Anthony Omiyang, one of the volunteers.
Source: UN Mission in South Sudan