These stories were produced in partnership with UNICEF and were originally posted on the GPE blog.
Meet Otii Nelson Ochola
Nelson is 15 and in 8th grade, the last year of primary school. He wants to be a pilot to be able to fly to the United States and Great Britain and see what those countries are like. It takes him a half-hour to walk to the new primary school in Ayii, a village in Magwi county in South Sudan, near the Ugandan border.
Because of food shortages in the area, most days Nelson doesn’t eat lunch. It makes it difficult for him to concentrate on his lessons in the afternoon at school. He noticed that the teachers have the same problem.
Until recently, Nelson had only been to school under a tree. If it rained, there were no classes. He really likes the new school and wishes the new football field could be finished soon as well so that he can also play at school.
Meet Eunice Aber Betty
Eunice, also 15 and in 8th grade, wants to become a teacher. It takes her an hour to walk to school every morning. The school she used to go to had a thatched roof that leaked when it rained. It had no toilets. Here, at the Ayii model school, she appreciates the nice building and the clean toilets.
However, when she is on her period, she misses school because she doesn’t have any sanitary pads. She feels embarrassed to go to school during this time and often does not go 4 to 5 days a month. On the way to school, she often gets teased by boys and men, so she runs all the way and tries to join other girls to feel safer.
Building schools so that children can learn
The new school in Ayii is one of 25 model primary schools that are being constructed around the country with support from a GPE grant. A total of 5 schools were completed in 2015 and have since registered more students than before the construction began, the next 20 school will be completed this year.
The lack of basic infrastructure is one of the main challenges that education partners are addressing in South Sudan to ensure that more children are able to go to school.
Watch this video to learn more about Eunice, Nelson, and education in their country: