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ASERELA MAINE

Aserela — Committed to nourishing the mind, body, and spirit of the people of South Sudan instilling in them self-reliance, self esteem, and hope. Aserela’s mission is to work with one small “forgotten” region near the South Sudan and Ugandan border to solve a large intractable challenge: an illiteracy rate of nearly 95%, where female illiteracy is ranked worst in the world. Our school's slogan is one of hope — Today learners. Tomorrow leaders. Help us re-build a school where children are eager to learn!

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Aserela is a small 501C3 non-profit charity established in Portland, Maine USA by refugees from war torn South Sudan. Our goal is to pay forward the blessings and good fortune we have here in the USA to the "forgotten children" in the villages where we came from. Children in our former homeland of South Sudan... one of the newest, but still struggling democracies... are desperately eager to have an education. 

Over the past 15+ years we've slowly and steadily raised funds to build a very basic primary school (primitive by USA standards) called the Nyolo Hope Primary School. 100% of the funds we raise, minus small transaction fees, go directly to school improvements and for student supplies.  Of the three rudimentary buildings we've constructed, these classrooms still lack the very basics like doors and windows, and recently due to a strong windstorm one building had its metal roof torn away.

Between 2011 through 2015, this basic elementary school has flourished. It reached attendance levels of nearly 700 students coming from villages as far away as a four mile walk.  We've been particularly proud to have girls attending and in the majority, which is a rare thing in South Sudan.

Unfortunately from late 2015 to the present the school has had to close.  The good news: other than the recent storm damage, the school buildings have not been destroyed by warring armed forces.

The bad news: Because of the ongoing factional war and conflicts since 2016, many village families were forced to flee out of fear of violence and danger. For most families and children it became impossible to farm their family plots safely. Many faced starvation or malnutrition. As their only choice, most families headed across the border to the the United Nations run Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Bweyale, Uganda. Times are not easy in the refugee settlement camp. Many children can't go to the basic camp schools as their families cannot afford even the small fees to attend.

But these displaced students and families are eagerly awaiting the day they can return to their village in peace again, and the children are enthusiastic to get back to their Nyolo Hope school, meager as it is.

Aserela knows that the success of South Sudan depends on lifting up and preparing the nation’s youth to be future leaders, and a good education is the cornerstone.

We are working hard to raise funds to repair the damaged school and optimistically to build up funds so that when it is safe for families to return to the Kit region we can spring in to quick action again to make the school buildings safe (inspect and repair roofs), hopefully install windows and doors, provide seating and desks, ensure there is safe drinking water on site... and once again the Nyolo Hope school will be a source of pride, not only for the students, but for this widespread community of 60,000 who never had a school prior to Aserela's help and the generosity of many, many kind individual donors.

Learn more at aserela.org.