London Marathon update
Jesuit Missions had a team of twenty nine runners complete this year’s London marathon on the 22nd April. Together they have raised over £64, 000 for our international projects which this year include, a women’s para-legal empowerment programme in India and supporting the provision of education for South Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda.
Pagirinya is a refugee settlement in Northern Uganda that hosts many refugees from across the border in South Sudan. Uganda hosts over one million refugees and asylum seekers, making it the African country with the most refugees, due to its relative peace, stability and economic growth. Although Uganda’s policy allows refugee children to attend school anywhere in the country, most refugee parents cannot afford the tuition fees and until two years ago there was no secondary school in this camp. Pagirinya secondary school was a community initiative led by parents and a few teachers. After first sharing the space of a local primary school, the local community donated a piece of land where a few classrooms were able to be constructed. The classrooms are basic and consist of a weather-beaten tarpaulin tent supported by thin wooden beams, with a precarious blackboard mounted to the structure.
Jesuit Missions is supporting Jesuit refugee service (JRS) East Africa who are the only organisation funding the school. There is no land for cultivation within the settlement so parents who previously had grown their own crops are unable to feed their families, and work opportunities are scarce. The school has 800 students enrolled but this is continuously increasing due to the constant influx of incoming refugees from South Sudan. The teachers are working hard in the hope that their determination will convince the local government to offer more support.
Eighteen-year-old Joyce arrived in Uganda from South Sudan in 2016 and is enrolled in the school as one of the few girls. Her dream is to become a surgeon. She says,
“Women’s empowerment is through education and without it, society as a whole is built on sand.”
Thanks to the money donated and fundraised by our team of marathon runners this year, Jesuit Missions is able to support JRS and their work to provide secondary education to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.