This is Suzan – a Senior 3 student from Bishop Abangite College of Science and Technology in Yambio, Gbudwe State.
Earlier this year, Suzan travelled to Juba to take part in a one-week workshop, along with nine other girls from around the country – all of whom have benefitted from the GESS programme. The girls used drama, storytelling and drawing to express the barriers to education that they are facing.
Following the workshop, the drawings were turned into moving images, animating the characters and scenes, and adding sound effects to bring the pictures to life. These were edited alongside the interviews with the participants. It is the first time that such an approach has been used in South Sudan and we were very excited to launch the three films on this year’s International Day of the Girl Child.
Suzan helped to create the film, ‘Keji Counts’ – a story that highlights the financial barrier to education. During our consultations with girls, families, communities and government officials, poverty is regularly cited as one of the principal barriers to girls’ education.
Suzan has been personally affected by financial poverty – the little money her mother makes goes towards her children’s education but, during the past four years, there have been times when she hasn’t been able to pay the school fees for all of her children, interrupting their schooling. Despite the challenges, Suzan highlights how lucky she is to have a mother that recognizes the benefit of education. Indeed, as a Senior 3 student, Suzan is battling the odds; in 2016, 128,000 girls started primary school, but only 2,700 completed secondary school.
Suzan received a Cash Transfer every year for the past three years, recently receiving the payment for Academic Year 2017 along with more than 15,000 other eligible girls in former Western Equatoria State.
With 2016’s Cash Transfer payment, she was able to pay for the third term of Academic Year 2016 and the first term of Academic Year 2017, easing the financial pressure on her mother. With this year’s CT she bought school materials, including a calculator and exercise book, and used the leftover balance to buy a school bag (see pictured).