The young graduates talked about the economic challenge and hunger that many families face coupled with discrimination against young educated women in recruitment process.
All spoke of the spirit of overcoming the challenges, having courage and hope and moving forward.
Addressing the audience that included the U.S. diplomat, teachers and students, Sr. Orla acknowledged the struggles that South Sudanese girls who choose to go to school face and the odds they have overcome saying, “We have great hopes and I know the girls are very ambitious for the country of South Sudan.”
“It is not easy for the girls in this country to be here (in school) but they are strong, courageous, ambitious and peaceful women who are looking for a better South Sudan,” she added.
The Irish-born nun who recently warned parents to take girls destined for early marriage elsewhere highlighted the struggles female learners undergo in her institution.
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“All these young women fight a lot to get to school. And they keep fighting to stay in school,” the 47-year-old nun reflected.
Loreto girls’ Secondary school in the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek has been giving support to the girl child including curbing child marriage to ensure the school continues to provide a secure learning environment without the threat of marriage.
Sr. Orla told ACI Africa Friday, February 21 that the girls’ excellence is a result of the unity in diversity experienced at the Rumbek-based institution.
“Our teachers are coming from within the country and from within East Africa as well. We are a very big family and we work hard together,” she said, adding, “I think as a staff and as a community, we have that sense of intercultural living and is something that we are trying to model for the girls. It is that sense of trying to be the mothers and fathers for the girls so that they can lead the way for the next generation.”
Meanwhile, Sr. Orla revealed to ACI Africa about the request made to the U.S. diplomat during his visit, to register the plea of those at the Loreto facility, to Pope Francis to visit the diocese of Rumbek and meet the youth who are battling many odds to make ends meet.
“We took the opportunity of asking the Ambassador to represent to the diplomatic community the request that we would love to welcome the Pope to Rumbek to meet with the youth,” said Sr. Orla in the interview with ACI Africa Friday, February 21.