Zacharia Mawat Machiek is lucky to be alive. One of the "Lost Boys" of South Sudan, he spent years fleeing conflict and then eleven years in refugee camps before coming to Australia.
Deprived of his own primary school education, Zacharia is determined to help the children of his newly-independent country start their education. Only 26% of the adult population of South Sudan is literate including a mere 17% of women - less in rural areas. More than half the population of the country is less than 18 years old.
Zacharia believes that education is the most powerful weapon to change conditions in South Sudan by enriching individual lives.
What do we do?
Zacharia is the founder and President of our organisation, South Sudan Orphan Education Inc. www.sseo.org.au
. We are Australian teachers, community workers and business and other professionals helping Zacharia to achieve his dream of building schools in South Sudan. The work of this organisation in Australia is completely voluntary and non-denominational.
We have already raised funding and provided materials to start the construction of a primary school in the town of Abyei Achok, South Sudan. This money is not a hand-out; it is a hand-up. With these resources and the help of the town community, 20,000 bricks have already been made and other infrastructure work has commenced. Over three dry seasons we will complete an eight-classroom school, with water and sanitation services, essential if we are to provide a safe and healthy environment for young girls.
In June and July 2014, Zacharia and some companions will walk the 900 kms between Tweed Heads and Sydney to raise money to complete the primary school in Abyei Achok. This is our major fundraising event for 2014. This is the Hope Road Walk. Zacharia will speak in towns and schools along the route. The itinerary is on our website.