As well as providing immediate emergency relief Jesuit Missions stays in areas of conflict to help with long-term development and disaster recovery. In South Sudan the Jesuits are working to re-establish formal education after years of civil war. Loyola Secondary School is one example of the work taking place in this region.
Loyola Secondary School (LSS), Wau
LSS was originally established in 1982 by the Jesuits but was forced to close in 1984 following the outbreak of civil war. During the war, the school was occupied by the Sudanese Army as a barracks and classrooms were reportedly used as torture chambers for prisoners of war. Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, the school was reopened by the Eastern Africa Jesuit Province. Since re-opening, LSS has received some of the best exam results nationwide and (despite its minimal resources) is a leading example of Secondary Education in Western Bahr el Ghazal state. Many of the students at the school are former child soldiers and ‘returnees’ (formerly Internally Displaced Persons/Refugees) to Wau.
The Jesuits are currently in the process of expanding the school’s capacity from 450 to 800 students and improving its facilities to include science laboratories, a computer laboratory, library and administration block. Phase I of the three Phase construction process began in September 2013. Whilst the school’s nominal tuition fee of USD 250 per year enables students from families with a modest income to attend the school, efforts are ongoing to increase scholarships available to those students unable to pay the full amount; including those living in extreme poverty, with one or no living parent. Equal enrolment of male (currently 70%) and female (currently 30%) students is a key priority for the school as efforts are made to improve access to education for females.
With the use of the new facilities, the school is planning to increase support/engagement with the community of returnees that surrounds the school through various community based (non-curricular) activities e.g. adult literacy classes, use of conference facilities for public health, social justice workshops.