On 11 Feb 2013, thirty two pupils, mostly boys, came through the door of the new primary school in Riwoto, South Sudan, where three Holy Faith sisters were ready to receive them. We went to Riwoto in answer to an appeal from the Kiltegan Fathers to open a school in this very remote part of South Sudan. In February 2016, there are nearly 400 children in the school: the proportion of boys to girls is 2:1.
Times are tough in South Sudan right now: the devaluation of South Sudanese currency in addition to unfavourable weather patterns has resulted in high levels of food scarcity and hunger. Additional food had to be bought for the children at the beginning of this term but World Food Programme delivered food about 3 weeks ago and that is a relief.
In the three years since the school opened, more buildings and essential infrastructure has been completed: more classrooms, toilet blocks, dining area for students, a new store room for food; teacher accommodation. Most of these funds came through the Kiltegan Fathers, donor organisations and the Kiltegan mission funds.
Donors to Holy Faith have been unbelievably generous. A large donation at the beginning helped us to purchase a much-needed 4 wheel drive vehicle. Last year a bore hole and solar pump provided the school with its own water supply with funds from Combined Services Third World Ireland. Work will shortly being on more classrooms courtesy of a grant from the Bank of Ireland sourced by one of our Associates in Ireland. Parishes along with friends and relatives of the sisters have made it possible for us to help subsidise two local men for teacher training which will be completely shortly. Your donations support the education of orphans and poor children, purchase maize and sorghum and salt for the breakfast programme, and school supplies such as books, library books and some sports equipment. One parish in Dublin contributed 25,000 euro over 3 years but we are immensely grateful for all donations, no matter how small.
Our commitment to establish the school was for three years and the time of our physical presence in Riwoto has come to end. We remain vitally interested in the growth of the school and have committed ourselves to ongoing financial support until at least July 2017 when the term of office of the current congregational leadership team will end.