As the World continues to rejoice the UN day on October 24th, pupils, local authorities, government officials, United Nation Mission in South Sudan and the whole UN family Saturday celebrated the day helping the ongoing Rwandan contingent construction of Kopuri Primary school in the country’s Central Equatoria State Juba County in Northern Bari Payam just short distance outside the city along Juba-Yambio road.
Government authorities, school administration, Pupils and residents say the dream of the people of Kopuri of seeing their children not study under stress and tree sheds, washed by rain, travel long distance and spend a lot of money to access basic education will soon come true at least by January 2015 as the school come to its final construction stages.
Mr Emmanuel Amule a father of five and former soldier in the Sudan already demobilized says he became a resident in Kopuri since 1996 but witnessed no services including NGOs working at their neighborhood.
The 39 year old father appreciated the work of the Rwandan UN contingent adding that it would reduce his daily 30 SSP cost for his children to travel to Juba town to attend classes.
‘’When this project emerged that the Rwandan contingent is going to construct this school we were very happy. I have four children traveling from here to either Kator or other schools in Juba town. Due to fear of transport we fear our children to go as far as that distance,’’ Benjamin Beja also a resident states ‘’as this school is brought nearer these fears has all gone away. We now need the contingent to bring more services like health and water.’’
Youths expressed their happiness that they would not remain unemployed in case one has completed a certain standard that allows them to drop application for teaching the pupils in the already beautiful emerging nearly 10 room construction.
The school has already four roofed rooms, four unroofed and two rooms that the foundation was laid the day of the celebrations.
Kopuri is also a home to returns and IDPs whose children will too enjoy the fruits of the building the community revealed.
The Rwanda forces says the idea of helping the people of the area came when they were patrolling in the outskirt of Juba and saw children learning in the open under trees in the new nation.
They say Rwanda and South Sudan had undergone the same history of conflict and what is facing the South Sudanese is what they had passed through.
Colonel Mutara Nkangura Rwandan Contingent commander says the construction of the school is done under what he calls ‘’UMGANDA’’, meaning community work in Kinyarwanda language of Rwanda which is leading in Rwanda construction of bridges, cleanliness and construction of schools for the venerable people.
He said this community work promote unity and reconciliation among people devastated by conflict, genocide and poverty.
UN agencies such as WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNOPS among other UN agencies that attended the celebrations served the public in Kopuri with their different services including demonstration on how to detect mine using several detectors and dogs.
Speaking on behalf of UN agencies in the health sector, Barnabas Kisa UNFPA South Sudan country representative appreciated the people of Kopuri and the entire government.
He said the primary school means educated people that translate to development in the new nation.
The agencies provided to the public during the celebration integrated health services such as HIV/AIDs, Malaria and Ebola testing and scholastic materials to children.
‘’Without health the school cannot function, mothers cannot give birth to the children that will attend the school; so for the UN for one woman who suffers because of giving birth it is unacceptable and that is why we have this integrated services today.’’ He said.
‘’The services can be provided but if there are no people there then the services are useless; this is where we want also to appreciate the leadership of South Sudan who are here today to see for themselves the kind of services that should be offered to the people of South Sudan.’’ Kisa said, ‘’If you can give them antenatal care, counseling for HIV/AIDs, children clinics this country would become a great nation and we hope even in crisis South Sudan will prosper.’’
He said the construction of the primary school should be a foundation of many things that will reach the people of Kopuri and South Sudan at large.
Tony Beaty female South Sudanese singer and Kopuri pupils entertained the public.