Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
The town of Arlington, MA, has two sister cities -- Teosinte, in El Salvador, and Nagaokakyo, in Japan. The children in the Arlington Public Schools learn about the sister cities' culture in this exchange, and they learn about ours. This blogger once watched a delegation of visiting Nagaokakyo students sing along to one of their children's songs that Arlington grade-schoolers had learned in music class.

The network of sisters helping sisters extends to Arlingtonian and VHSS director Lisa Deeley Smith. Village Help for South Sudan is delighted to be one of the co-sponsors of a benefit concert for the Arlington Sister City Projects, Sunday, Nov. 21, at 3 p.m., at Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Avenue.

Family Folk Chorale headlines the evening, bringing songs from South Africa, Bob Marley, and others. Also playing is the Cambridge-based Sol y Canto, with Rosi and Brian Amador. The Malika Traditional Dancers are performing. That's a very interesting group -- based in Maine, with roots in the Equatoria region of South Sudan, hundreds of miles from where VHSS does its work, joining us in a common expression of sisterhood.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased by calling 781-648-3737, at the door, or on-line We'll be there, distributing bookmarks and information about the education and health connections we are making in South Sudan.

You'll see some big names co-sponsoring this concert -- Oxfam America, Heifer International. We're flattered that when concert organizers are brainstorming about groups doing good working internationally, they think of Village Help for South Sudan.
Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
This one, "House on School Street," by Cape Ann artist Michael Stoffa, will.



It's being raffled off by St. Paul Lutheran Church in Gloucester, MA, with the proceeds to go to our newest well-drilling project. They're also collecting deposit bottles -- a good way to help the thirsty.

This is just one of the creative ways that our villages have connected with Wunlang village. What will your village do?
Posted by: Lisa
Here is a report from our executive director Franco Majok on a recent event at McCall Middle School in Winchester, MA:

"On 1/15/09 McCall Middle School celebrated Martin Luther King Day. McCall has been celebrating Martin Luther King Day since 1993. This is year the celebration was very different. The celebration this year was tight to fundraising to support Theou School in South Sudan.

"Their fundraising will continue until the end of the school year. The first fundraising effort is a direct appeal to the students. Every home room has a Giving Tree. Any donation that student make, between one to five dollars will earn a leaf with the student's name on it. The idea is not for student to go to their parents or guardians and ask for the money, but do something extra to earn it or share your birthday money.

"Now what happened on 1/15/10 was very nice. Bol, his cousin, Phillip Mou Riiny who graduated from McCall, and I were invited to speak. One thousand students listened to us in two groups. The first group was 6th grade student and second group was 7th and 8th grade. Bol was the first speaker. Bol spoke about the days he lived in Winchester. He said that Winchester High School prepared him to go to college. He thanked the people of Winchester of welcoming him to go to school and become a person he is today. He also thank Winchester town for awarding him a big scholarship of $6000 every year for 4 years until he graduated from college.

"Bol also showed slides about his life as one of the Lost Boys. Bol finished asking people of Winchester to support him to build a school in his village. He said that is a dream to him, to help children in village to have good education.

"He also mentioned his cousin, Phillips Mou Riiny who graduated from McCall and went to Winchester High School, then to The Governor Academy, and now University of San Diego. Bol said that Phillips dream is to go to MIT for his master's degree. I spoke at the end. I said my dream was to build a school in my village, Wunlang, which I did. I also said something about my country Sudan and how two civil wars destroyed everything in south Sudan.

"All our speeches were tight to dream to match with Martin Luther King's speech 'I have a dream.' The Martin Luther King's speech 'I have a dream' was showed on DVD before our speech."

We're so glad that McCall will help make Bol's dream, and the dream of hundreds of kids and parents in Theou Village, come true.
Category: Brookwood School
Posted by: Lisa
Our treasurer Ron Moulton informs this blogger that people of all ages have been putting Village Help for South Sudan on their birthday lists. Most notably, some students of Brookwood School have generously given up receiving toys and games on their birthdays to give boys and girls their age in Wunlang a chance at education.

Many boys and girls are moved when they hear that kids their age don't have a school building, a pencil, or decent clothes for school. This is a great teaching moment for parents. And children, by giving up a little so other children can have something precious, can teach us also.
Category: General
Posted by: Lisa
Convocation -- "calling together" -- is often how colleges and universities begin the academic year. We're delighted that Franco has been chosen to be the keynote speaker at the convocation of Wheelock College.

Wheelock's mission is to "improve the lives of children and families." With a specialty of educating students in childhood education and in social work, Wheelock's goals mesh with ours. We've built a school, and helping the street children of Aweil will require the talents and sensitivities that education in social work develops. We know that Franco's story will inspire the Wheelock community. We wish Wheelock all the best this academic year, and we hope to stay in touch.
Category: Brookwood School
Posted by: Ron
Painted Brick

The Brookwood School has joined our Village to Village program! This private elementary school in Manchester, MA, has supported the Wunlang School Project in several ways over the past few months. The students have raised funds for Wunlang by collecting and selling used cell phones; by selling cookbooks; and by featuring the Wunlang School in their 8th grade service dinner. At the dinner, the students gave oral reports on the history and current situation in Sudan. Franco Majok presented a brief personal history and a summary of the Wunlang School Project. Students presented a display and sale of bricks they had painted to help celebrate and show solidarity for the people of the village of Wunlang who made more than 150,000 bricks to be used to build their school later this year. Thank you Brookwood!

Click here to see more photos
Category: Governor's Academy
Posted by: Ron
From Raphael Durand and Michael Ivey:

Raphael and Mike

Mr. Suggs inspired us to start the fund raiser at The Governor's Academy. Mr. Majok helped a student that graduated from The Governor's Academy last year, Mou Riiny, come to The Governor's Academy. We called Mou Phil, we knew him well, he was always in good spirit. We decided that the best idea to start the fund raiser was the 'paper brick' idea, we are a small school of about 350 students, and the paper brick gives an opportunity for everyone to contribute because they only cost a dollar. That way if everyone contributes, it would be somewhat the same as if only a third of the school contributes at a higher price, we thought we'd see better results with the 'paper brick'. Starting the fund raiser required a lot of organization, it required contacting Mr. Majok setting up meetings to learn more information on the project. It required contacting many deans at school, and making student body announcements. We set up a convocation for Mr. Majok and Mrs. Smith to come to the student body to talk about the Wunlang School Project. That way everyone is informed about what they're donating their money to. We also talked to "The Allies" a parent run organization at The Governor's Academy, we asked them if they would give us a 'matching grant' if we achieved our goal of selling 500 bricks. That way it motivates the students to achieve a set goal, and also doubles our funds when we reach that goal. Although we are still in the middle of working out if they can give us funds for a matching grant, but I found it to be very helpful to the fund raiser. The leadership Mike Ivey and I show, may not seem like much to us, but it gives the confidence to underclassmen to contribute, it's almost like positive peer pressure. Mike and I decided that this year in PRIDE (People Really Into Diversity Education) we wanted to get involved in helping the community. When Mr. Suggs mentioned the Wunlang School Project it was our opportunity to raise money for what we believe to be a great cause. All this work pays off in the end, and we hope this fund raiser to be one of the most successful in a few years at the academy.
Posted by: Ron
The Village School in Marblehead invited Franco and Ron to present the Wunlang School project to their sixth graders. When they arrived at the school, they were greeted by a large banner created by the students.

Village to Village

The banner is shown in the image above. The students were extremely curious and receptive to information about the Wunlang School and the conditions in the village. They have decided to “adopt” the Wunlang School and to help us raise funds for the children of Wunlang.

We would like to invite other schools to join our “Village to Village” campaign. Our plan to help Wunlang will bring many benefits to the students, teachers, and citizens of Wunlang over the next 3 to 4 years. We will eventually bring technology to the village that will enable students here to communicate with students in Wunlang over the Internet. Sharing information about our two cultures and the lives of children growing up in these vastly different places will be vital to the educational progress long stalled by the war in south Sudan.

Please contact us if you would like Franco and Ron to speak at your school. You can become part of one of the most exciting and rewarding human and social transformations of the century.
Category: Lynn Classical
Posted by: Ron
Wunlang Project at Classical High School

Recently, the Wunlang School project was formally introduced to Classical High School. Over 50 students and teachers attended the presentation in the auditorium. The Project came to Classical through the efforts of Alex Rittershaus, a Junior, who has been involved in the project for a number of months. He has even built this website with information and updates.

"Bricks" were sold at Classical High School for $1.00 each. (Over 4000 'Bricks' were purchased) Each donator signed his or her name on the "Brick" and the "Brick" was put on the wall outside the auditorium and main office of the school. The response was incredible. Teachers, students, and administrators all participated for this great cause.

Wunlang Project at Classical High School

Special thanks to:
Fred Dupuis and Mike Quinn at Breed Middle School for 'making' the bricks used for the fundraiser.

The story began with Franco Majok, a Lynn resident originally from Sudan, who recently returned to the small village of Wunlang in South Sudan. He found that some children in Wunlang, many malnourished and impoverished, walk two hours to attend the one and only school in the village. The children are taught in English, however, the school is nothing like those here in the United States.

In Wunlang, the children sit outside under trees on long branches because they don't have a school building. They lack basic necessities such as school supplies and desks. During the rainy season of May to October the school is closed. Also, during the dry season of December to May the school is closed because it is too hot outside.
Category: General
Posted by: Ron
Village to Village

"It takes a village to raise a child," and it certainly takes many villages to build a school! Our Village-to-Village campaign began with Marblehead Village School, which extended its help to the village of Wunlang. Then followed Lynn Classical High School and the Brookwood School of Manchester, MA.

Other "villages" have followed. Among the communities of faith, we have been helped by First Lutheran Church of Lynn, St. Paul Lutheran Church of Arlington, Trinity Baptist Church of Arlington, and the Lutheran Church of Newton. Among service organizations, Rotary International has been most helpful. We've made several presentations to Rotary Clubs around greater Boston, and we enjoyed a workshop on Rotary's literacy program, the Concentrated Language Encounter.

As the villagers in Wunlang have finished their bricks and wait for the arrival of our construction manager, perhaps your "village" -- your school, your house of worship, your club -- would be moved to join our village. Feel free to contact us us about a presentation.

Our Village-to-Village program coordinator is Alex Rittershaus. You can see what he was able to accomplish at his high school here.

Below is a list of schools participating in "Village To Village". Click on the name of the school to read about its fundraising activities and the progress it has made.
 
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