Hellen visited Mama Hellen’s School in South Sudan in December 2020. Travel arrangements were cumbersome and difficult, with many missed connections and baggage that was lost or delayed. But overall, the trip was a big success — a good, and important morale boost for the teachers and school administrators, as well as students and their teachers. It was very
Hellen visited Mama Hellen’s School in South Sudan in December 2020. Travel arrangements were cumbersome and difficult, with many missed connections and baggage that was lost or delayed. But overall, the trip was a big success — a good, and important morale boost for the teachers and school administrators, as well as students and their teachers. It was very valuable for them to meet with Hellen in person after 5 years of Hellen being away.
During Hellen’s visit, the school held an event with the Magwi County Director of Education, the Payam Education Supervisor, school teachers and administrators, parents and members of the PTA, students and community representatives. The Magwi County Director of Education stated that Mama Hellen’s School stands out as one of the best performing schools in South Sudan, particularly in Magwi County. He commended the teamwork of the teachers and administrators and the commitment of the school to maintain high standards. The Payam Education Supervisor noted that members of the Lotara family serve as role models for the community.
After her visit, Hellen reported to the Advisory Team that the biggest challenge (and highest priority) for the school is to retain high quality teachers. To do this, the school needs to offer competitive salaries. School administrators report that a teacher’s salary (including benefits) is approximately $2,000 per year, although the amount can fluctuate due to unpredictable inflation. The Advisory Team agreed to make raising additional funds for teacher’s salaries a high priority for the coming year.
Hellen is also encouraging the school administration to cultivate larger gardens on the school grounds to help provide staples for the teachers and their families. The teachers are often unable to do their own cultivating because of the hours they are dedicating to students at the school.
- Teacher’s Salary for Pre-K – Grade 3, including benefits: $2,000 per year
- Teacher’s Salary for Grade 4 – Grade 8, including benefits: $2,250.00 per year
- In addition to attracting and retaining high quality teachers, Hellen and school administrators identified the following priorities:
- Complete roofing for the dining hall/kitchen, teacher’s residences and an office (in progress)
- Paint the current buildings. Improve and add fencing around the school grounds (in progress)
- Provide desks for the students (benches are no longer safe because of COVID)
- Provide reliable sources of energy and electricity (bid received)