A Country, Torn Apart
The world witnessed heart-breaking images of Sudanese children fleeing their war-torn homeland in the seemingly endless conflicts of the last few decades. Coverage of conflicts in Sudan seem to consistently be on the news. We have seen children forced to give up their childhood, and forced to become soldiers for a cause they didn’t believe in. Many Sudanese fled to surrounding countries, like Kenya, looking for a better life, only to find limited resources available to them as refugees. Many of these children found themselves living in refugee camps in Nairobi, with hopes of an education and jobs, though little chance that either of these would become a reality.
A New Hope for Sudan
Life in Kawangware, the refugee slum located west of the city center in Nairobi, was not what many refugees expected. Food and security were in short supply, and many students were turned away from Kenyan schools because of their age, their gender, or overcrowding in the schools. Parents, teachers, chaplains, and others members of the Sudanese community in Kawangware dreamed of educating their children so that one day they could rebuild their nation. In 2002, a small circle of friends started a school for primary children, with the main focus on general education, while simultaneously sharing the love of Christ with them. By 2006, a secondary school was added to Sud Academy. Over 300 students, male and female have completed the Sud Academy curriculum_—_a combination of government approved resources as well as materials from OneHope. Today, they have an enrollment of over 200 students, many of whom plan to follow the vision of the school and return to Sudan once their education is complete.
Integrated Christian Education
Sud Academy is unique, as a Christian school taking in Sudanese refugees with the intent of student development_—_aimed at ultimate returning them home to help with rebuilding efforts. While many students were not able to pass tests required for entry into the government schools, at Sud Academy, they have been given the opportunity to attend school for the first time. In addition to their general education, students have the opportunity to hear about the love of Christ. Through twice weekly chapel services and teachers who share their faith, Sud Academy is working to build up the hope in Jesus Christ that many students lost when they left Sudan. This school also allows female students to gain an education that they have previously been denied. Now the male students are bringing their sisters to school with them to obtain their own education. No matter what their background holds, students who attend Sud Academy are finding acceptance and hope as they look to the future.
Continuing to Grow
The Sudanese population in Kenya is sizeable. As Sud Academy looks ahead, they have hopes of educating many more Sudanese refugees and releasing them to return to their country with education and skills that will aid them in the process of rebuilding a better country. A majority of the alumni have returned home, gaining government and professional jobs. They are helping to change the future of their country while also supporting their families. The school has plans to expand their space in order to adequately meet the needs of their growing student body, both at the primary and secondary levels. As they can expand their space, they will be able to reach more students with the hope of Christ and the hope of a better future in their own homeland.
Check out Sud Academy’s website here.
To learn more about the ministry landscape in Kenya and throughout Africa, check out our REACH research study here, conducted through OneHope.