Providing Hope Through Education at Father Leopoldo Anywar School
The Elizabeth Church of Christ has been providing financial support for the Father Leopoldo School in South Sudan for a number of years. The Father Leopoldo School is a Christian school located in the southern part of South Sudan near the town of Magwi. This support is provided through the Magwi Developmental Agency Australia Inc. [MADAA] which is a non profit organisation whose work is on the principle of charity. MADAA seeks to enable Sudanese refugees, family and friends of refugees, community members as well as former refugees and migrants from similar backgrounds to settle in Australia with independence and dignity, and to develop and achieve their aspirations and opportunities in life. MADAA also seeks to improve lives in South Sudan through South Sudan Development initiative programs.
Fr. Leopoldo Anywar College is a community based college named in memory of Rev. Fr. Leopoldo Anywar who was one of the first Catholic priests from the Acholi area. It is our hope to expand Leopoldo Anywar College to offer other courses apart from secondary education.
The school caters for students from Senior One to Senior Four. A strong, nurturing residential programme is available for girls which fosters students’ self-discipline, personal responsibility and leadership skills. Careful attention is paid to students’ academic achievement and to their physical, emotional and spiritual development.
Below are some of needs of the school and, by extension, that of the community around Magwi:
- Inadequate learning facilities: Classrooms, Laboratory, Library etc
- Human resource capacity development
- Extension of Scholarship program and support for girls to remain in school
- Sport facilities for the school
- School Vehicle to facilitate transport for students and carrying firewood and other heavy items to and from school instead of the students carrying on their head.
The Father Leopoldo School is one of the highest ranking schools in South Sudan in regard to results and is also unique in that it provides equal opportunities for girls and boys to achieve a secondary education in a country where many girls do not have this opportunity. The school is endeavouring to become self-sufficient by planting numerous crops in land connected with the school.
In 2019 Mark Zerna (from Elizabeth Church of Christ) and Celian Kidega (from Grace Community Church), visited South Sudan and spent time in the community around Magwi. They were able to gain an up-to-date picture of the needs of the people in that country. There are a number of churches in the region of Magwi but they are poorly resourced and the pastors are significantly underpaid. We plan to undertake further trips to Magwi in the future, once overseas travel is possible again, to further develop the relationship with the churches there to explore other ways of supporting and encouraging them.