Although we are currently unable to offer South Sudan as a tourist destination, mainly due to the FCO Travel Advice ‘against all travel’ to the region, it is a place very close to my heart, having travelled there extensively over 35 years ago.
So close to our hearts that we at Nomadic Thoughts are delighted to have recently provided much needed educational sponsorship, and promotional and financial support to ‘Under Tree Schools’, a grassroots charity operating in the region.
As if to illustrate the true worth of this remarkable part of the world, Under Tree Schools is a fabulous project that goes straight to the core, providing support, and most importantly education, to young girls in the rural area of Malek Alel, Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal, South Sudan.
This small but dedicated organisation focuses on giving a better future to a community shattered by nearly five decades of civil war. The belief is that the combination of academic schooling, backed up by vocational skills training, will hugely assist the girls and their families in building better futures.
We are therefore proud to have provided Under Tree Schools with the design and production of the charity’s brochure, and to have donated towards the education of girls beyond primary education into their secondary phase.
We were also thrilled to be able to fund the school’s recent Christmas meal/party for the community of students, staff and families.
Made up of ten states, South Sudan is one of Africa’s most diverse countries. It is home to just under 10 million people, who split into over sixty major ethnic groups. Early steps as an independent country (9th July 2011) have been troublesome with most of the country’s existence dominated by civil war, unrest and inter-tribal infighting.
Which all goes against my memories of travelling in 1983 when I met with an open, friendly welcome at every turn.
The hope is that this vast area of underdeveloped landscape will one day again welcome international tourists from far and wide.
Until then, we continue to monitor, hope and believe things will get better. I can assure you that whether you are being welcomed in Dinka, Juba Arabic or any of the other local dialects, your visit will get under your skin and stay with you forever.