"When you educate a man you educate an individual; when you educate a woman you educate a whole family."
— Robert Morrison MacIvor
Education, like health care, is (at least it should be) a basic human right. Levels of education are low in southern Sudan. It is one of the big challenges that MSF faces here. In particular, we have problems hiring women because they lack the necessary facilities with reading, writing, math and English. We do have female staff, but they are generally in cleaning and cooking capacities and not in paramedical positions, where we would like to have them.
Once a week, MSF has hired a local teacher to spend an hour with our female national staff to teach them basic literacy. He teaches them in their native Nuer language. This program has been a great hit. The women attend in high numbers, studiously keep their notebooks and seem to enjoy the class. One hour is, of course, not very much time, but it is a start. This simple but great idea is one of many from our project coordinator, Geke Huisman.
Geke is a committed, passionate advocate for the rights of women and children. She has worked as a nurse in diverse MSF projects in the Ukraine, Darfur, and Zambia and brings her health care background to the position of project coordinator. Geke has been a great support to me. She was incredibly kind to me when I was sick and she held me together in the sleepless, Larium crazed days of June. Thank-you Geke.