MAF passenger, Simone Ille, spent more than a decade working as missionary and teacher trainer at Emmanuel Christian College in Yei. Recently she returned for a visit, to the town where she has left a legacy of learning amongst the pupils and staff.
‘My background is training primary school teachers at Emmanuel Christian College (ECC), which is a faith based higher institution of learning in Yei town. The main programmes we teach are theology, education and business administration to diploma and degree level. There are about 300 students at the college. We also have a secondary school that has around 200 students. The college is 20 years old, and we have graduated many, many students over the years.
‘I've been training primary school teachers since 2010. The exciting thing is the number of teachers I’ve taught who are now working all over South Sudan. I can visit Torit and other locations and see my teachers teaching in the schools, which is pretty cool!
The teaching profession faces many challenges but there's so much my students can impart to younger generations. They will have such a big effect on children’s lives.
‘Some of my students came to Yei from other areas. We had Dinka students all the way from Warrap State who travelled during the war to study with us. At that time, the Greater Yei area was largely controlled by the opposition. People told them, “You're going to die on the way before you reach there because the road is not safe.” They came anyway because they wanted so much to study with us. They knew the reputation of the school and said, “What we're getting at the college: It's worth it!”
The college models what peace could look like with students from different areas studying together united by their love of education and desire to make an impact for the next generation of children.
‘There are so many children and young people to teach in South Sudan! Half the population is below the age of 18, and teachers are needed in every corner of the country. The more teachers we can train, the better!’
I was excited to be able to fly with MAF a few times recently. Flying saves times and allows me to make the most of my limited days in one location.
‘The teaching profession faces many challenges in South Sudan. Salaries are really low, classes are huge and infrastructure is relatively poor. Teachers often have side businesses just to feed their families, but those who come for training, realise that there's so much they can impart to younger generations. What they teach will have such a big effect on children’s lives.
‘While I continue to be engaged in teacher training in ECC, I have taken on a regional role within my mission organisation this year. Therefore, I travel a lot to visit various teams within East Africa. I was excited to be able to fly with MAF a few times recently to Yei and also Torit. Transport and road travel continues to be a challenge in South Sudan. Flying saves times and allows me to make the most of my limited days in one location.’
The exciting thing is the number of teachers I’ve taught who are now working all over South Sudan.