ngor majak anyieth, founder & ceo
I grew up just outside the town of Bor, South Sudan, and I started primary school in 2000. At the time, many schools had been destroyed by the civil war, and I used to walk an hour to get to the closest school. When I was in Grade 4, I had to make a decision: I could either leave my family to pursue an education, or I could stay in South Sudan where I knew the chances of attending secondary school were slim.
In 2005, I left my home for Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where I attended primary and secondary school. I lived there for six years. I later had the opportunity to attend African Leadership Academy in South Africa and the University of Notre Dame in the United States. It was through these experiences that I recognized the power of education—and the opportunities that South Sudanese youth are deprived of without access to proper schooling. I started Education Bridge because I want to increase access to education in South Sudan.
But I know that the conflict in South Sudan cannot be solved by education alone. South Sudan has a long history of ethnic violence. I remember that as a child, I used to despise and distrust people from different ethnic communities. I was only able to change this mindset through my experience living in Kakuma Refugee Camp, where I interacted with people from different ethnic groups in South Sudan. My aim for Education Bridge is to bring this same experience to South Sudanese youth. Our hope is that the interactions we foster in our schools will help break stereotypes that fuel ethnic conflict, and create new narratives of peace. Short term, Education Bridge intends to create peace ambassadors: people to challenge the dominant biased narrative. Long term, we want to create a South Sudan that finds pride and richness in its diversity.