Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Between the Earth and Sky

This 21:10 minute video documents the struggle of 400 medical students to become the first generation of South Sudanese doctors. We promise you'll be inspired. "On July 9th, 2011 South Sudan became the 193rd nation in the world. This sub-Saharan nation is the size of France without a single paved highway. With the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, the country has less than 50 licensed doctors for its 10 million people. 400 medical students are struggling to become the first generation of South Sudanese doctors. This is their story..."

Between the Earth and Sky. from Ujenzi Trust on Vimeo.

Learn more about how Ujenzi Trust supports the medical students of South Sudan at >> Southern Sudan Medical Education Collaborative (SSMEC).

Friday, April 15, 2011


Uploaded by  on Oct 15, 2010

The following text and image is from
The mission of the Sudan Education for Liberty Foundation is to build schools of scholarship, leadership, and citizenship to empower the people of Southern Sudan.

Nyuol Tong

Founder/Director SELFSudanNyuol Tong is a former South Sudanese refugee. Nyuol founded SELF because he belives education is the only way Southern Sudan can be liberated from the legacy of war. To learn more about Nyuol click here.

Learn more about Ujenzi Trust at

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Challenges to higher education in Southern Sudan

John Akec is the vice chancellor of a newly instituted university of Northern Bahr El Ghazal in Sudan. The following excerpt from his recent post on his personal blog titled "Serious Challenges Await Higher Education in Post-Referendum South Sudan" examines some of the issues the SSMEC students face on a daily basis.

As of time of writing, there are 9 public and 16 private universities in South Sudan. Of 9 public universities, only 5 are functioning while the remaining 4 are newly instituted and have neither infrastructure nor capacity to admit students in the near future. Between them, the functioning 5 Southern universities host over 25,000 regular students, about 18,000 of which study at University of Juba. Amongst the total student population, approximately 12,000 are from Northern Sudan.

Moreover, there are about 956 North Sudanese academics in 5 Southern Universities, of which 451 are based at University of Juba alone where they form 73% of the estimated 620 academic staff's total head count at that university. Nearly 700 Northerners are employed in administrative, technical, and support roles. In majority of colleges and schools in Southern universities, the number of Northern academics average 65% in all universities. In colleges such as veterinary and medicine, the percentage of Northern academics is higher and may exceed 90% or reach 100%.

On the other hand, the number of South Sudanese students studying in Northern universities is 33,000. About 5,000 of these are studying at Bachelor level; 8,000 are studying for intermediate diploma; while 20,000 are registered on postgraduate and distance education programmes. In South Sudan, about 30,000 students are sitting university entrance exams this year and an estimated 30,000 others are taking the exams in the North. Add to this an approximately 8,000 students sitting equivalent university entrance exams in East Africa, and the figure will soar to around 70,000 students who will be looking for university places in fall of 2011.
Read more

Monday, April 11, 2011

Saving Southern Sudan's Mothers

Uploaded by AFP on Mar 18, 2011

VIDEO: Southern Sudan is about to become an independent state, but when it does it will be at the bottom of international rankings in terms of maternal mortality. One in seven mothers dies during childbirth. AFPTV reports from Aweil hospital, where each successful birth is a joyous event. Duration: 01:41

Monday, April 4, 2011

Awol Manyang reports from Juba on Southern Sudanese Health Care

Sudanese Health Care
Reporter's File

"Although the government of Southern Sudan has reportedly achieved a peaceful, free, and fair referendum their still facing many challenges. One of the biggest is the provision of Healthcare in the new country." - Awol Manyang reports from Juba

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SSMEC at the AMSA Annual Convention

This past weekend, instructors from SSMEC were in Washignton DC presenting a poster at the annual American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Conference. SSMEC was recognized as first place in the category of posters entitled Education and Curriculum Development! We had a great time simply talking to other students about our works in Juba and we were ecstatic when our project was called up. Things like this make all of the hard work pay off.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Khan Academy

TEDTalks : Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education - Salman Khan (2011)
via TEDTalks (video) on 3/9/11

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

Related: Khan Academy Education Videos Arrive in the App Studio from BitTorrent blog

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Southern Sudanese Medical Students

Students in Juba, Southern Sudan
A note from Thomas F. Burke, MD, FACEP
Chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Global Health and Human Rights
Written from Juba, Southern Sudan

February 17, 2001

Very emotional morning. I am quite weepy behind the darkest sunglasses I have.

We are deep in the trenches "fighting" for these medical students. They are really struggling. The 5th and 6th year students have been moved down from Khartoum with essentially no plan. 25 of them are here in Juba (the rest are scattered about South Sudan till mid March....The government asked me when we can start teaching again thus we set March 23rd as the opening of Medical School). Most of the 25 are homeless and hungry. But, they'll not tell you.

Every day they get dressed up and try to learn by volunteering at the hospital. They read whatever medical textbook they can so long as there is light. They are truly amazing. They are the epitome of humble.

This morning I was granted an hour meeting with 2 senior government Director Generals, and the 25 5th and 6th year students. The 2 government DGs (who themselves have lived through the war, have lived in refugee camps, etc) were surprisingly hard on them. I then saw that they were testing whether the students were committed, honest, and serious, or whether they were only trying to take from the government and move on.

I could hardly protect them, although was aching to do so. But, then it became obvious that this DG harshness was a thin veneer, below which a vast amount love. At least it was evident to my eyes, but likely not to the students.

Finally, one of the students said, "Dr. Baba, may I speak?" Dr. Baba said, "please". The 5th year student then said, with tears in his eyes, "Dr. Baba, I also have lost a great deal. I have been in refugee camps, my parents and brother were killed. I was a child soldier and most of my classmates here in the room were as well. But, we are desperate. We want to help our people and help heal this country. We work day and night to become good doctors. We are beaten, we sleep outside, and we are hungry. We don't complain and we want to look forward with you. We need help from the new government. We were close to becoming doctors but now know no future."

I am just now going to KCB bank with 8 students in tow to set up a bank account to feed the 25 medical students that are here in Juba on an emergency basis, for at least the next 6 weeks. Even though Juba is more expensive than London, NYC, and Boston the students calculated that they need the equivalent of 6 dollars per day for food and water, and 2 dollars per day for transportation, per student.

We are so so fortunate....

Take good care,


Go to to help.