NEW DESKS MAKE THE GRADE
Story and Photography: Tom Willcox
Winrock Helps South Sudan’s Children Swap Rocks and Tin Cans for a Better Seat in Class
Eleven-year-old Anna Adyero, a student at Magwi Central Primary School in South Sudan, likes coming to school. But until recently, she struggled to learn. Not because she lacked a teacher, though teachers are scarce in the world’s newest country. But because she lacked what many assume is standard operating equipment — a desk.
Before the USAID-funded Room to Learn (RtL) project, the 1,000 enrolled students of Maqwi Central Primary School would often sit on the ground or, if they were lucky, on a pile of rocks or an old tin can (if they could find these and bring them to school). Many children injure themselves on the unstable stacks of sharp rocks and stones.
Adyero was one of them. “Sitting on the stones is not good, it hurts,” she says, pointing to a cut on her ankle. “I get injured on the stones all the time.”