Sr. Mai Van FMA
Khartoum,, September 8th, 2020
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build.” (Psalm 127:1)
Thank you, Lord, who has provided all that was needed for me to complete this study and the mission for which it was undertaken. There was never a lack or want. Throughout this entire study, He took care of everything that would have stopped me in my tracks and strengthened me even through my most difficult times. He is God Almighty, He is my Creator, my strong Pillar, my Source of Inspiration, Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding. He has been the Source of my strength throughout this period of time and on His wings only have I soared.
“No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” (Alfred North Whitehead) I would like to express my gratitude to our loving Mother and her vicars Sr. Roberta, Sr. Ruth, the Sisters in Dar Mariam Community – Shajara, and all of the sisters who have supported and encouraged me to complete my study.
“Everything happens for a reason.” (Marilyn Monroe) I strongly believe that everything that God has granted in my life for a purpose and my duty is to live my life to the full in His plan. And for me “All is Grace! (Brennan Manning). It was God’s gift. It involved God’s love and mercy given to me even when I did not deserve it. Thank You, Lord, for everything! I have learned a lot not only at the university but also in the school of life, and in the community life. I can say that “I have grown much.”
While living in Sudan, I was restlessness whenever I saw South Sudanese refugee pupils struggle in their study and in daily life. My main concern was finding ways to support them. That was the reason for my research to complete my studying. This research aimed at investigating the challenges that affect schooling of South Sudanese pupils in Khartoum, Sudan. It attempted to describe the challenges that affect the pupils; to explore the ways that they defeat the burdensome in their daily lives and to find the support from others to help them face their schooling challenges. It was descriptive, cross sectional study. Quantitative data collected through the questionnaire was analyzed manually, whereas thematic content analysis was applied on qualitative data collected by interviews and focus group discussions. Non probability sampling technique (purposive sampling) was administered and consequently the sample size was fifty pupils, ten teachers, ten South Sudanese parents and five girls in focus groups in five Catholic primary schools. The research results were as follows: first, the challenges that affected schooling of South Sudanese pupils were: transportation, weather, cultural differences, some kinds of trauma, prejudice and racism, new environment, language, housing, and isolation; second, the pupils managed to face the challenges by themselves or share with others and no one got stuck on it; third, parents and teachers gave pupils great support by helping them to study tough subjects, listen to their sharing patiently and gave them good advices.
The researcher recommended the following: need for teachers and parents to acknowledge the challenges of immigrant pupils, teachers in the school to listen and observe pupils attentively to understand their characteristic and ways of living life; to help them to meet their basic needs; to accompany them in the classrooms not only as teachers but also as friends; to teach them not only knowledge but also good manners and how to become honest citizens. Furthermore, parents should listen to their child with great love and patience; to understand her/his psychology at her/his age; to be her/his best friend and to learn to love what they like so they will listen to your teachings. Moreover, the researcher recommends the communities to support immigrant families and pupils.
As an educator, in order to help leaners solve their own problems, we have to know the reasons of those problems. Hopefully, this research is a small contribution to the educators in supporting the schooling of South Sudanese pupils in particular and for refugee students in common.
Don Bosco used to say to young people: “For you, I study, for you, I work, for you I live, for you, I am ready even to give my life” (Salesian Constitutions, art. 14). This also was the reason for our activities to bring children, youngsters, and others to come close to God. May Salesian charism be known, loved, and lived by everyone whom we meet in our daily life.