The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


It's crowded, but children are learning

Lutheran-run schools offer hope in South Sudan

Haram Jukin, 10, always wanted to go to school, but poverty and war stood in her way. Last October she finally began classes at a Lutheran World Federation-run school in Yusuf Batil, a U.N. refugee camp in South Sudan.

At presstime, the ELCA had provided the LWF with $100,000 in 2013, on top of $75,000 in 2012, to help meet the needs of South Sudanese affected by internal conflict and disasters. The gifts of ELCA members provide shelter, children’s education and peace-building for newly arriving refugees from Sudan.

The Yusuf Batil camp, a sprawling collection of tents and makeshift shelters, is across the border from Sudan’s Blue Nile State, from which Haram’s family fled in 2012. A simmering insurgency and government counteroffensive have displaced more than 110,000 people, mostly children, into four camps in Maban County, part of the newly independent South Sudan’s Upper Nile State.

The Jukins left their village after months of aerial bombardment by the Sudanese military. “The bombs would fall and we would run to the streams and sleep there,” said Kames Jukin, Haram’s father. 

During their two-month trek to the camp, Haram’s mother, Shaia Hamed, walked with food and a child dangling from each end of a pole she carried across her shoulders. Her husband usually carried another child. Haram and her brother Saddam, 14, walked alongside. 

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