Our History (When and How Did We Get Started)
The Balanda Community Association is a 501(c) (3) charitable non-profit community organization formed in Denver, Colorado, USA in December 2008 to bring together all the Balanda in the Diaspora to address the neglected educational, health, economics, environmental, and agricultural food security needs of the Balanda people in Western Equatoria and Western Bahr Ghazal States in the Sudan in the post protracted civil wars, which have ravaged the Balanda People and the Southern Sudan for the past fifty five years.
The Balanda people, based on the population census of 2009, are among the largest ethnic groups in Southern Sudan. They inhabit the land stretching from the Equator in Western Equatoria State along the borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic to about 7.5 degrees above the Equator in Western Bahr Ghazal State. The formation of the Balanda Community Association is our best attempt to secure the active participation in the rebuilding of our community devastated by twenty two years long civil war that ended with the signing of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement on January 9th, 2005 in Naivasha, Kenya between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/SPLA). Our strategic goal is to rebuild our community through self-initiated community grass-root funded projects in the areas of education, health, agriculture,
and water sanitation.
Our Mission (What We Do)
The missions of the association are:
1. To bring the education to the Balanda community one child at a time in order to raise the literacy rate of our community one village at a time.
2. To bring health care to the Balanda Community in order to reduce morbidity and mortality and raise the life expectancy of our community one patient at a time.
3. To empower, educate, and bring together all the Balanda people in the Diaspora and at home in order to secure their active roles and participation in issues related to their common well-being.
4. To develop strategic plans to preserve the Balanda’s cultural and linguistic heritage, promote education, and improve human and economic health of the Balanda Community.
.Our Purpose (Why We Do It)
The Balanda people, whose homeland stretches from Western Equatoria State along the borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic to Western Bahr Ghazal State in South western Sudan, do not have a single functional primary, intermediate, and secondary schools or hospital or primary care medical center in their community. Except for the few schools that were built by the Catholics and Protestants Missionaries at the beginning of twentieth century, all of which were closed in the 1950s due to civil war and the Sudan Islamic Government crackdown on Christian Schools in Southern Sudan, no new schools have been built in the Balanda’s villages, towns, and cities in over a century. Health care services and the facilities to deliver them are non-existent. The direct consequences of the absence of even the basic school facilities are twofold: First, it produced lower literacy rate in the Balanda Community especially among women, who have lowest literacy than the entire community. Second, it gave rise to a new government policy and practice in the early 1981 in which students in primary and intermediate schools were evicted from the existing school buildings to make room at first for secondary schools and later the Bahr Ghazal University in Wau, Sudan. In other words, the old school buildings built by the British and Egyptian Colonial Administration at the turn of the twentieth century are being reused for different educational functions. For over a century, no new investments have been made in building new schools.
Although there is an enormous need for health care services right now in the Balanda Community, we believe that education is the single biggest problem. It is the common denominator of all the problems in the Balanda Community because through education all solutions are possible to our community problems. It is in view of this sobering reality that the Balanda Community Association in the United States has decided to make the problem of education its primary priority to be addressed. The association believes that addressing the larger problem of education in Sudan must start at the community level. Any attempt to focus on the education must begin, therefore, with an investment on new school buildings and making school supplies readily available in abundance in order to ensure the delivery of high quality education to current and future generations.
Access to health care is one of the fundamental basic human rights to which all the people of the world are entitled. Health care has been free to all the citizens of Sudan during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Rule (1898-1955) as well as under the successive post-independence governments of Sudan from 1956-1989. In the 1990s, the universal health care system that Sudan has had for a hundred years was replaced with a market-based health care system in which health care is no longer viewed as a fundamental right, but a market commodity to be traded, bought and sold to the highest bidder.
In Southern Sudan, the collapse of the health care system in the Sudan coupled with protracted civil wars that have been ravaging on and off since 1955 have led to total disintegration of health care and health facilities throughout Southern Sudan. The challenge for the Balanda Community Association is how to bring health care to the underserved Balanda people in Western Equatoria and Western Bahr El Ghazal States respectively so as to meet the enormous and largely unfulfilled health care needs.
Your activities and/or accomplishments (what have you done and what are you doing now?)
· Purchased land for Wau West School Complex project. A plan is underway to purchase additional land for future expansion of the Wau West School Complex.
· Contracted Asiedu & Associate to develop the complete architectural blueprints for the School project
· Organizing fundraising across the United States to support the school project.
· Hold a biannual public conference to update the community members and the affiliates on the Community activities and progress report (on the projects undertaken by the Balanda community Association.
· Contracted with the World Light Media to design, develop, and host the Balanda Community Association website
· We have completed a thorough research of educational needs in the Balanda Community and have written school project proposal for a twenty five classroom state of the art primary and intermediate school to be built in Wau, Sudan.
· In October 2011, the Balanda Community Association will submit its grant proposal to the Japanese International Agency for Cooperation (JICA) for funding to build the Wau West School Complex.
· We registered and incorporated the Balanda Community Association in the State of Colorado and received the letter of determination from the Internal Revenue Service designating the Association as the 501-c-3 non-profit charitable community corporation.
Who’s involved (who you are?)
The Balanda people in the Diaspora and at home
How people can get involved with your cause (call to action)
Direct Financial Support:
· Donate funds to support the Balanda Community School Project being undertaken by the Balanda Community Association.
- Medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, medical technologists/technicians can volunteer their time and professional services to provide the much needed medical care and training of medical staff in Western Bahr El Ghazal and Western Equatoria States in Southern Sudan.
- Join our teachers Core to teach students at Wau West School Complex (current project being implemented) as well as train current and new teachers.
- Collect books, science laboratory equipment, and school supplies for the new school in Wau, Sudan.
- We need professional general contractors to help us build the Wau West School Complex because skilled labor in Southern Sudan is non-existent.
- Help organize fundraising activities across the states to generate funds to support the current and future projects of the Balanda Community Association.