A kindergarten story from Sudan

Aisha in her refurbished kindergarten (Photo credit: Mutwakil Omran/UNDP)

Khartoum November 2012 - Aisha Jumma, or Mamma Aish as the young boys and girls in her kindergarten call her, is one of 300 female ex-combatants who received reintegration support package in 2011 as part of UNDP's Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme in Sudan. Following trainings provided by the national NGO Al-Manar on income generating activities and small business management, Aisha expanded and renovated the kindergarten's facilities by using the capital to obtain further loans. The fresh paint and clean rooms full of toys and learning materials are a testament to just how much the school located in the town of Omdurman has changed in the last year.

She said, "I was motivated to run this project, before joining the programme. Actually I had begun this work but I was struggling to do it. When I started the business, there were only 40 young children and the numbers sometimes decreased because of the lack of entertainment and a safe and suitable environment for the children to enjoy. Now with the support of UNDP the situation has changed and right now 81 children are receiving preschool care and education".

Aisha believes in community service and notes the importance of giving back to the community she lives in. She remarks with a smile, "These activities are good business, but it still for me humanitarian work, right now 11 young children are enrolled for free, so I am giving help for 11 poor families in my community."

All the factors are indicating a success of the project: more classrooms have been built, enrollment has   increased and two additional teachers had been hired to help in caring for and educating the young children. Aisha now is managing the kindergarten with help of other 4 staff. “My economic situation is good, my income is improving and additionally my project avails working opportunities for three more people” she continued, “The fees are affordable for all families and now the kindergarten is getting bigger which ensures a real future for my project .”

The project is made possible through the generous support of the Government of Norway, the Government of Japan and the European Union.

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