“I am looking forward to resuming lessons and going to school again,” says 17-year-old John Gatluak who is enrolled in Eden Secondary School in Bentiu, South Sudan. John is one of the beneficiaries of school materials handed over to displaced children by Mongolian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
“One of the best investments in life is education,” states Colonel D.Battuvshin, Commanding Officer of the Mongolian battalion. “With the disruptions caused to student life across the world due to COVID-19, we decided to team up with our local interlocuters and provide necessary materials to encourage displaced children to keep studying,” he adds.
Items given by the peacekeepers include notebooks, pencils, toys, volleyballs, basketballs and clothes. The aim is to motivate displaced students to keep up with their schoolwork as much as possible.
“This hand over comes at a very good time as restrictions on secondary schools at least are about to be lifted. But school-going children of all ages will most definitely benefit from the generosity shown by UN peacekeepers. It’s a big boost for their morale,” avers Simon Thier, a teacher from Kondial Secondary School located within the UN Protection Site in Bentiu. “Anyone who helps us educate our future generations is a friend because they are enabling us to build a better future for our children,” adds Mr. Their.
Peacekeepers were assisted in arranging the handover ceremony by Ruop Guol Kulang, a community leader residing in the Protection Site. Many students have to go through struggles and hardship to acquire school supplies,” reveals Mr. Kulang. “This hand over might appear to be basic but for chidren in the UN site who have lived through conflict, lost their loved ones and are so far away from home, it has a huge positive impact. By supporting our young students, these peacekeepers are supporting a future of peace and prosperity across South Sudan,” he states passionately. “Every child in South Sudan deserves everything we, as individuals, as communities, as a society, to educate them so that they can look forward to a future that is prosperous and peaceful.”