Angelina, South Sudan

Women laugh at their group meeting in South Sudan.

Women laugh at their group meeting in South Sudan.

Amidst war, Angelina lost her home, her husband and her parents. She lost her sense of security and her family's livelihood. The war for independence has left many scars across the landscape of Warrap. Empty bullet shells and abandoned tanks can still be seen on the journey to Tonj. South Sudan gained its independence in 2011, but peace remains elusive in many parts of the country today.

Angelina survived a rebel attack where her legs were badly injured. In the aftermath, women from the church came. Many of them had also lost loved ones. They knew that shared grief is easier to bear and that the wounds of war can be bound up over time. These women encouraged Angelina that God still loved her and that He would care for her children. The women also presented Angelina with an unusual invitation: they offered her an opportunity to go to school.

Like most women in South Sudan, Angelina never had the chance to attend school. She grew up fetching water and firewood, helping her family cook and plowing their small plot of land. She never learned to read and write and she didn't think that she ever would. The church had recently started a literacy program and was offering classes to women. With the encouragement of her friends, Angelina decided to enroll. One year later, Angelina has a certificate in Literacy and Numeracy and counts herself as blessed. Through the Mothers’ Union ministry she's joined a savings group and she is planning a brighter future for her children.

“Now I can manage to read my Bible in [the] local dialect, count money, write my names, and read the sign posts. I can teach my children at home and I am very happy because of the certificate I got. It encourages my children to go to school.”

Today, both of Angelina's children are in school. Angelina walks with a crutch and with some difficulty but there is confidence in her step. In a community where few women are literate she says that the training she received has helped her become a leader in her church, and now she is encouraging other people that there is hope using her faith.

This story was written by staff in our Five Talents USA office. Find out more about how you can support entrepreneurs like Angelina, either as an individual giver or as an organisation. There is so much you can do to help!