South Sudan is the newest country of the world, gaining independence in June of 2011 after over 50 years of armed struggle and conflict with the North. As a result, South Sudan has more than 3.25 million people living in United Nations camps for internally displaced or in refugee camps in neighboring countries. The new country’s challenges are many: the economy has collapsed, roads are in disrepair, the countryside is unstable, and peace is fragile. Maryknoll Lay Missioners is new to South Sudan, but hopes to expand its ministries there in the future.
Because of the years of conflict and the newness of the country, South Sudan is just beginning to develop its infrastructure in some areas, and that includes training certified, qualified educators. Our lay missioner in the country works at a teacher-training college and also serves as assistant to the principal. The teacher’s college is part of Solidarity with South Sudan, a broad international effort of Catholic religious orders and their associates.