The Sudan Rowan Dream Continues

15 students who began their primary education through Raising South Sudan were admitted to secondary school – a huge honor in South Sudan! These include five female and ten male students who had been sent to study in the capital city of Juba, but had to return home to Ruweng State due to COVID19. Teachers have been enlisted to work with these students to help maintain their academic skills until they can return to high school.

By Karen Puckett

Sudan Rowan continues to thrive. Conceived at St. John’s thirteen year ago, this nonprofit 501(c)(3) continues to partner with various groups and organizations in order to maintain two schools serving 900 students from three South Sudanese villages.

Sudan Rowan’s primary partner, Charlotte-based Mothering Across Continents, manages ground operations for both the Gumriak and Nyarweng primary schools in Ruweng State, South Sudan. This partnership, called Raising South Sudan, secures funding and support for teacher salaries, teacher training, books and materials, meals, and student uniforms.

Grants and other achievements during 2019-2020 include:

  • March 2019: $2,500 from St. John’s Endowment Fund towards construction of a water well at Nyarweng school and to cover costs (gift cards and prizes for art and writing contest) associated with the Walk for Wisdom event sponsored by various Rowan-Salisbury schools
  • April 2019: $200 from Salisbury Kiwanis for student refreshments for Walk for Wisdom event
  • April 2019: $3000 in funds raised by area schools (NRHS, NRMS, Rowan Early College, Isenberg) sent to South Sudan for Nyarweng water well
  • May 2019: $1000 from Sims Family Foundation toward college scholarship for S. Sudanese college student studying in Kenya
  • October 2019: $950 from St. John’s Lutheran Endowment Fund for college scholarship for S. Sudanese college student studying in Kenya
  • October 2019: $35,000 from St. Luke’s Endowment Fund for a roof and desks at the Gumriak school.
  • March 2020: $1,500 from St. John’s Endowment Fund for scholarships for 10 Aliap students attending Gumriak primary school.
  • April 2020: $7,800 from St. Luke’s Foundation for scholarships for 52 Aliap students attending Gumriak primary school
  • May 2020: $1,000 from Sims Family Foundation to Gumriak and Nyarweng schools to assist with food costs due to COVID19

The only access to water before the borehole was drilled was unclean shallow wells which caused a number of health issues amongst the most vulnerable in the community. The community of St Cecilia is home to over 400 households or approx 3.000 people. In Dec 2011 the communities first borehole was fitted by Cafod supplying the community with fresh water for the first time. Each family is allowed to collect 5/6 jerrycans of water or 100 litres a day which is used for drinking, cooking and washing.
Each household pays approx 5 Sudanese Pounds or GBP1.50 a month to help with the maintenance. Those who cannot pay still have access to the water. The Republic South Sudan gained Independence on 9th July 2011 following decades of war with north Sudan. The town of Yei became a base for the SPLA during the civil war in which an estimated 4 million people were displaced and more than 2 million died.
South Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world with an illiteracy rate of 92%, only 3 surgeons, lack of basic health care, water and food security.

Economic hardships continue in South Sudan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. High inflation rates affect food and school supply costs. Thus, schools will be cancelled nationwide through the end of 2020, reopening in January of 2021. Twenty teachers were paid through the end of June. Funds are being pursued to maintain smaller financial compensation for teachers and staff until school resumes.

With additional funding being requested of donors and foundations, upper grade teachers will have an opportunity to earn salaries for professional development and to teach 7th and 8th grade students who are preparing for national exams. The hope is to acquire tablets preloaded with core content resources, generators for charging the devices in the rural areas, and a desktop computer and printer to be used to print materials.

Donations to this ministry can be sent to Sudan Rowan at 576 Adrian Road, Salisbury, NC 28146; online at; or through checks made directly to St. John’s with “Sudan Rowan” in the memo.


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