After decades of civil war in South Sudan, bishops of that country in 2005 invited international religious communities to consider serving in South Sudan to help address the country’s critical educational, health and pastoral needs. Since that time, religious congregations have been involved in a collaborative project titled Solidarity with South Sudan, which empowers and supports the Sudanese people to rebuild their lives, communities and societal structures. Today, there are more than 260 congregations — including the Sisters of the Holy Cross — supporting this project in different ways.
In a country where illiteracy rates are very high and few children have access to primary education, instructing local people how to teach basic skills to children and young adults is vital. In response, Solidarity with South Sudan has established two teacher training centers to help meet an immediate need for 26,000 primary teachers. One of the project’s goals is to improve educational opportunities for women and girls.
“Only 27 percent of people age 15 and above are able to read and write,” wrote Sister Joan Mumaw, a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and U.S. regional development director for Solidarity with South Sudan. “Most of those already teaching have from four to six years of primary education and no teacher training!”
The Sisters of the Holy Cross at Moreau Primary School in Kirinda, Uganda, have offered internships to graduates of Solidarity’s teacher training colleges. This summer, a young woman named Madeline Louis joined them to broaden her teaching experience. She is a graduate of Solidarity’s teacher training college at Yambio, Western Equatoria, South Sudan.
“The Sisters of the Holy Cross at the moment do not have the personnel to directly serve in South Sudan,” said Holy Cross Sister Jacinta Katusabe, headmistress of Moreau Primary School, “but we want to give a chance for the Sudanese people to experience our ministries. The objective is to mentor the young women so they gain experience of working with people of different nationalities.”
The congregation’s Ministry With the Poor fund is providing Madeline with room and board for six months, as well as a small stipend for her personal needs.
“Many thanks for your generosity,” wrote Sister Margaret Scott, a member of Our Lady of the Missions from New Zealand and principal of Solidarity Teacher Training College, Yambio. “I have spoken with Madeline and she is very grateful for this opportunity to do an internship with you and the sisters in Uganda.”
In addition to this internship program, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross has provided financial support to the Solidarity with South Sudan project since 2009.