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Bangladeshi peacekeepers boost education in Wau state

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August 28, 2019 (WAU) - Bangladeshi peacekeepers from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) donated supplied communities in Wau state as part of efforts to revitalize education and create an environment conducive for the return of the internally displaced.

Bangladesh peacekeepers members of UNMISS Marine Unit launched on 22 June 2015 to protect UN barges (Photo UNMISS/Isaac Gideon)

“Parents living here lost everything when the neighborhood was looted and destroyed during the 2016 conflict, and they can’t afford to purchase textbooks for their children,” Agany Malek, a visibly excited resident of Awiel Jedid area of Wau state, told UNMISS.

Last year, according to the UN mission, Wau’s ministry of education as well as non-governmental organizations donated several textbooks, but it barely scratched the surface of what was needed.

As a result, however, UNMISS Bangladeshi peacekeepers were prompted to print hundreds of thousands of textbooks to benefit ten schools in Wau, with Awiel Jedid primary school being a beneficiary.

“I felt very bad for pupils suffering because of internal disputes,” said Col. Majharul Hague, commander of the area Bangladeshi battalion.

Once a flourishing area, Awiel Jedid is now virtually a ghost town, with nearly all of its buildings reportedly destroyed or abandoned.

Most people in the area, according to UNMISS, reside in a UN protection of civilian site or in collective centres scattered across Wau.

Prior to the conflict in Africa’s newest nation, Awiel Jedid primary school reportedly consisted of a population of over 1,000 pupils.

“The building is in very bad shape,” said school head teacher, Lodvoico Joseph Ulak.
“Since its re-opening, looters have raided supplies and vandalized furniture. Pupils have also stolen some of the books,” he stressed.

Ulak said he is optimistic one day the school will be re-constructed to accommodate even more pupils, and that it will be transformed into a safe haven for internally displaced persons returning to the community from the UNMISS protection sites and collective centres.

Meanwhile, the state minister for education, Mario Nybango John said education is the backbone of development and needs support.

“We need more partners in peace to help us fill in the gaps that the state government cannot,” said Nybango, while urging the school’s administration to take good care of the textbooks for future use.

Over the past two years, the peacekeepers have reportedly spearheaded many humanitarian projects. Earlier, they reportedly ran a no-cost medical camp for the residents of Bazia Jedid in Wau.

(ST)

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