Project raises money to build school in Southern Sudan - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Project raises money to build school in Southern Sudan

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The third annual Khor Wakow Benefit Dinner will be held on Saturday, April 20th, at 5:30pm. The event will be held at the First Evangelical Free Church in Sioux Falls, located at 2601 W 69th Street. That's very close to Western and 69th Street.

The event will feature Sudanese food prepared by local Sudanese women, and entertainment provided by the Rosa Parks second graders and music teacher, Melanie Sander. The kids will perform a song and dance from their musical adaptation of the children's book, "David's Journey." There will also be a silent auction and dessert auction. Tickets are $25 per person or a table of 8 for $175.

The founder of the Khor Wakow School Project and co-author of "David's Journey," is David Jal. He was born and raised in Southern Sudan. As a boy he dreamed of becoming a geography teacher. He did not plan on moving away from the Sudan but says he was forced out of his country when the civil war intensified in the Sudan. At the age of 10 he says his dream of becoming a geography teacher was replaced by just trying to survive. David says he spent nearly 10 years in refugee camps in East Africa. In 1994, he was approved to be resettled in the United States and was able to come as a refugee in 1995. He came to Sioux Falls where he still lives today. David and current project board member Laura K. Jacobs, wrote a book about his journey from the Sudan to Sioux Falls called, "David's Journey." 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this book go to the Khor Wakow School Project. You can pick up a book at Zandbroz in Sioux Falls, online by using the link on the left side of your screen, or at the benefit dinner on the 20th.

The goal of the Khor Wakow School project is to raise money to build a school for the Khor Wakow villages located along the Khor Wakow River in Southern Sudan. Organizers say they want to give all children at any age level access to basic education in this area. They hope to construct a school, drill water wells, and install automated corn grinding mills.

Organizers say it is estimated that over 99% of Khor Wakow's 6000 inhabitants are illiterate. They say two decades of unrest and civil war have destroyed 2.5 million lives, village life, and schools. They say education is a fundamental factor in helping children and people affected by war to rebuild their lives. Currently there are no schools in this area. Classes are taught under trees by 35 teachers on a voluntary basis. Classes are often canceled for several months during the long rainy season. Organizers say a school building will provide protection, encourage attendance, and allow educational opportunities year round. The land for the construction site was donated by Khor Wakow chiefs and elders when David Jal and Carole Cochran visited the village in July 2010. The project will serve 400 children between ages 5 to 17. The estimated cost is $ 200,000.

Some goals for this project have already been met. Water wells were needed in this area not only for safe clean water, but also to allow kids to attend class instead of spending hours gathering water. The Khor Wakow School Project drilled the first-ever water well in the village area in February of 2012. Automated corn grinding mills were also needed to relieve many girls who had to grind corn by hand instead of attending class. Khor Wakow supporters raised enough funds to deliver five manual corn grinders to the village in February of 2012.

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