The Balanda people’s 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. The Balanda People do not have a single functional primary, intermediate, and secondary schools or hospital or primary care medical center in their community. A few schools were built by the Catholic and Protestant 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.
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.
Health care services and the facilities to deliver them are non-existent. 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.