South Sudanese Women’s Cookie Project In 2000-1 150 “Lost Boys from Sudan” were settled in the Boston area. These were young men who had survived the horrific genocide in Sudan. They came to America to start a new life after years of running from the Northern Sudanese and living in various refugee camps. Many of these men had some education in the refugee camps; they were eager to continue their education here in America. The Sudanese Education Fund started in response to their hunger for education. They were new in this country, had some education making them available only for entry level employment. This coupled with paying Boston area expensive residential rentals made getting an education only a dream. Sudanese Education Fund started to give stipends for tuition, books and computers. We wanted to make their dreams come true.
After ten years there are over 50 South Sudanese college graduates and 50 vocational school graduates. In fact this June we have one Sudanese young man graduating from Medical School and several from Master Programs from Boston area Universities!
Many of the men, now as United States citizens are going home to Sudan and getting married. They are bringing their wives to the United States and are starting families. The women have not had the opportunities of education that the men had in refugee camps or back in the villages. They come to the Unites States with very little education but with the same hunger that the men had years ago: they want to learn English and get an education.
The Sudanese Education Fund has responded to this by offering an Educational Enrichment Program on Saturdays. This program offers educational enrichment to all ages of the children and ESL classes for the women supervised and run by an ESL professor from Bunker Hill Community College. We are also connecting the women to the long waiting lists of ESL programs in their communities. Their husbands have at least one job and many have two or three. They are supporting their families here and all are sending funds home to support extended families in Sudan who continue to struggle with ongoing violence and poverty in South Sudan. The women need education, and their children need educational enrichment. The women also need to learn to drive cars and become US citizens. It is very expensive to become a citizen, over $700. To go through Driver’s Education Class costs more than $600.
The Women’s Project of the Sudanese Education Fund has been established to help the women raise funds for their education. They have started a small bake sale business selling their cookies. Those who make and sell the cookies are given a stipend for their labor. Most of the women who are selling cookies have been here for years and are in school. Those who are new to this country have made the cookies at home; it is difficult for them to travel from their homes since they do not drive and have very young children. We have started to sell cookies at Churches and Synogoes and hope to continue to do so.
The profits from their cookie sale are put into an account which will be distributing next Mother’s Day. We are hoping to find donors who will contribute to this account and help it grow over the next year. The funds in the account will be used for driver’s education, citizenship; education, summer camp and other summer educational programs for the South Sudanese children.
Please contact us if you would like to get involved in our program to support the South Sudanese women! We welcome Churches or Synagogues who are interested in hosting us on a Sunday this summer of fall. We can be reached at 781-641-0063 or visit our web site at www.SudaneseEducationFund.org