27 May 2020

 

From South Sudanese Students Abroad To High-level Taskforce Committee On Covid-19

"...there is nothing that we can do to help ourselves because curfew laws are sharp in our respective countries of studies which no one can even hunt for food, and staying without sustenance is intolerable. Therefore, we request the government to let the assistance reach us as soon as possible."

From South Sudanese Students Abroad To High-level Taskforce Committee On Covid-19

29/03/2020
South Sudanese students in the countries mentioned in the statement would like to cordially appreciate the parties involved in the peace agreement. The signing of the agreement which resulted in the formation of the unity government has enormously brought joy and hope not only to us but also to the whole world. We wish it's a sense of everlasting peace.

Secondly, we would like to appreciate the government for the necessary preventive measures taken so far to hamper Covid-19. As it's said, "Prevention is better than cure" all South Sudanese have to get involved in the prevention of the virus.

Furthermore, we appreciate the government most importantly the South Sudan
Task Force Committee on COVID-19 for endorsing $3 Million to support us, we
welcomed the decision with heavy smiles. Possibly, we urge at one hand the
government to release these funds immediately so that we can early shop
foodstuffs, masks, gloves and pay rent since the end of lockdown days are
uncertain.

In addition, we would also like to inform the government and the South Sudanese at large that we are all well and none of us has been infected by Covid-19. We pray that we all remain free from this fatal pandemic.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, South Sudanese Students in various countries
around the globe have been facing alarming consequences. As representatives from different countries, we have decided on writing out these perturbing challenges.

The students represented in this statement are from Turkey, Morocco, China,
Malaysia, Egypt, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

CHALLENGES WHICH ARE FACING SOUTH SUDANESE STUDENTS
ABROAD

1. Turkey
The first badge of South Sudanese Students on Turkish government scholarships
came to the country in the last quarter of 2013. By then, the generosity of the
monthly stipends in covering the students' needs was very indisputable, this great financial condition went on until late 2017.

However, the political misunderstandings between Turkey and its allies roughly exterminated her economy, this crisis has since then ruined the financial status of students in the country.

In 2017, students received approximately $200 (700 Turkish Lira) as
monthly stipends but due to currency devaluation, this amount later dropped to
nearly $100 when a dollar reached a pinnacle value of 6.87 _ 7.00 Turkish Lira as
reported on 13th August 2018.

From thenceforth, living conditions have deteriorated and most of the students who don't have external support go through unimaginable struggles.

To exasperate the situation, approximately all students under Turkish scholarships study courses whose language of instruction is Turkish; a language they get to learn for 9 months before commencing in their respective departments.

Consequently, some of the students end up showcasing displeasing performance
due to the challenge the language post, as a result, their scholarships are either cut or completely terminated. As I write this, there are students whose scholarships have been cancelled.

These students used to sustain their lives through part-time jobs alongside their
studies, but right now, we're in a SEMI-LOCKDOWN as a result of Covid-19
outbreak, almost everything has been closed in the country. I can't even imagine
their situation if the 3-million support still delays for the next few days.

Furthermore, in the last two weeks, the coronavirus cases have surged in Turkey
with 7,402 COVID-19 positives and 108 related death cases as reported by the
minister of health on 28/03/2020.

Generally, we are all in unnerving circumstances and would like to let our
government be informed of our current situation in a country badly stricken by
COVID-19. Your help will surely make a huge difference.

By Abraham Chol Kur Deng
SSSAT president, Turkey
Email: cholkuragatbeek123@gmail.com
Tel: +90 534 850 52 48

2. Indonesia
Basically, all South Sudanese students in Indonesia are under partially funded
scholarships offered by the universities which give them free education and a
monthly allowance of $(100-150) depending on the institution. Health insurance,
visa and accommodation are paid by the students themselves.

The fact that these scholarships don’t offer health insurance has made it the most
burdensome condition for any student to bear at this critical moment.

Ever since the government of the Republic of Indonesia issued the national state
of emergency, students have not received their monthly allowance which covers all their basic needs. It’s then become hard for them to purchase prevention items such as hand sanitizers, face masks, hand gloves and foodstuffs.

Indonesia has no well-planned bilateral relationship with South Sudan, hence
driving it out of handles for the students to communicate their issues of concern
with the government since they act as the ambassadors for South Sudan in
international conferences.
By John Mathiang Machar, Indonesia
Email: Mathiang1997@gmail.com
Tel: +6285233429705

3. Egypt
Since the government cut down the stipends of scholarship students in Egypt in
2014, life has become worse for those still pursuing studies in Egypt. The misery
we live in is inestimable.

As the matter of fact, majority of South Sudanese students in Egypt are either on private or partial scholarship from government of Egypt; for the case of those on partially government scholarship, the government of Egypt is only responsible for school fees while accommodation, textbooks, and all other requirements needed for studies are students' obligation.

The case is different for the private scholarship students for they struggle to pay part of tuition fees and other requirements. The current economic situation in the country has made the matter even worse as most families can’t afford to raise half a hundred dollars in a month, let alone supporting the now-stranded students in Egypt.

To make the matter shoddier the current situation of Corona Virus (COVID-19) has made life so miserable and as the results; some students had been chased out of the hostels since the closure of the universities.

Most of these students are not able to afford renting outside on their own and hence, are forced to live together in one apartment in greater numbers to
afford renting. This could be dangerous in this situation where people are supposed to keep a distant. Imagine in this situation about 15 people sharing the same house.

Others have been lockdown in the hostels without food rations, although some
universities do give some junky monotonous food items, some students still cannot eat that food due to maybe medical condition (Imagine being feed on tuna for an entire month).

Students who have no relatives to support them are caught up between rock and
hard place as the whole world is under lockdown. Subsequently, they are not able to move out to do some manual work that used to be the main source of getting income.

Even those with support can’t get any help as most banks across the world
are closed. There are so many problems that one can even write a book about, but for the sake of brevity, I will keep it short.

On behalf of South Sudanese students in Egypt, I would like to make the following recommendations to the COVID-19 virus task force and the government of South Sudan.
1. To ask the South Sudanese embassy in Egypt to assess the situation of the
students studying in various universities of Egypt.
2. To Empower the embassy to accommodate the students sent out from their
universities especially the universities located far away from big cities such
as; Fayoum, Tanta, Suez and Zagazig universities.
3. To provide the minimum stipends to all South Sudanese students whether on
government or private scholarship during this time of Coronavirus so that
they are able to buy the food and other basics items that might be necessary
during this period.

Conclusively, we know these are really tough times and our prayers are with our
country.

However, it’s high time for the leaders of our country to demonstrate the
strong leadership quality of caring for all the citizens of South Sudan. The
government now have a choice either to do something or watch the situation
deteriorate. Any little effort done would be appreciated.
Thanks
By Elijah Achiek Panchol, Egypt
Email : achmajhok@gmail.com
Phone: +201110523183

4. China
As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, South Sudanese students in China have
been facing unnerving consequences. The conditions continue deteriorating daily.

We have been indoors for nearly three months now. Except for an overpricing
online delivery, we are hardly allowed to buy foodstuff from supermarkets.
Regardless of being under private or government Scholarships, the pandemic has
poorly lowered all our financial favorability.

This makes it extremely hard to buy Foodstuffs, sanitary materials (face mask, hands sensitizers) and Medication for students with financial inadequacy.

However, the $3 million pledge by the government for students abroad has restored hope.

Furthermore, we have been facing a passport-related problem which is unrelated to Covid-19 consequences. We would like to take this opportunity to inform the government that our passports are not permitted for opening bank accounts, receiving and sending money. It seriously challenges students most especially in this difficult time due to the fact that the possible way of receiving money is using friends’ passports from other nationalities.

But now, social distancing which is one of the preventive measures has hindered use of others’ belongings. We request the government to cordially work in collaboration with the embassy in getting a solution.

Besides, we urge our government to consider supporting partial scholarship and
self-sponsored students in Chinese universities even after winning the Covid-19
battle for their living condition is alarming.

All in all, we appeal to the government most especially the High-level Taskforce to speed up the processes of the allocation's delivery to the students in this
disconcerting moment.

By Arol Deng Arol Mabuoc
SSSUC-President
Email: arolmagnetic@hotmail.com
Tel: +8615608450760.

5. Malaysia
The South Sudanese Student’s Association in Malaysian Universities/SSSAMU do
hereby appreciate the measures, level of preparedness and response made by our government to help curve the risks of potential exposure and spread of the virus in the country, at this time we need to stand together as a nation than ever before we’re at the midst of global pandemic and dealing with an emerging virus to ever hit and face the humanity, so there is nothing less when it comes to what we can pull together in an effort to fight the virus at the stake of keeping our people safe.

Malaysia is by far the most hit country and a hotbed of Covid-19 cases in the
region of South East Asia with a staggering rise in numbers of cases to 2320 as of
29th/3/2020.

In this country there are about 140 South Sudanese students (both
government and private sponsors) at a high level of learning in Various Malaysian universities throughout the Peninsular.

As many countries are struggling to contain the spread of the virus, the Malaysian government has made some drastic effort in the fight to help bring down the curve by endorsing restriction of movement order until 14th /4/2020.

The entire country is at a complete lockdown, all non-essential business including Universities are closed until further notices or unless promising
effects are observed in the near future. Given the necessary measures and response adopted by the Malaysian government with coronavirus pandemic upon us, we are currently facing the very real prospect of spending one month indoors due to Social distant order.

We understand this is not the right time to appreciate things we usually took for granted now we are being in a middle of global pandemic thousands of miles away from home, listed below are some items and dire challenges facing us in Malaysia.
1. Foods stock
2. Sanitary equipment (face mask, hands sensitizers)
3. Medication. Over the counter medication for students with some health
problems.
4. Personal upkeeps.

We really appreciate the decision and swift action made by H.E President Salva
Kiir Mayardit to form the high-level task force for Covid-19 and the grant of a sum of $3M to South Sudanese students studying in countries hit by this global
Pandemic, both in the region and beyond African borders.

By Chany Wicgoal Chatiem Luony, SSSAMU President Malaysia
Email: wicgoalchany@yahoo.co.uk
Tel: +60167953053

6. Morocco
We are humbly requesting the government of South Sudan to consider the crucial time we are in, on behalf of students who were offered Partial scholarship by the Kingdom of Morocco in collaboration with the ministry of high education in Republic of South Sudan.

As far as Coronavirus is concerned in the Kingdom of Morocco, the disease has
been increasing everyday which leads to closure of all Universities/Institutions and it has pretentiously on South Sudanese students who are being sponsored by
Moroccans Agency for International cooperation and in collaboration with
government of South Sudan.

However, as student’s leader having been trying for several years requesting for
assistance from the ministry in order to solve some students’ issues that are facing them in their various residents.

We would like the government to help us in accommodations and lodging at least
to rent for us two residents per city in Morocco where there are a lot of students in this difficult time, many students have been refrain from their studies because they cannot manage to pay for renting, hence the union of south Sudanese students in Morocco have requesting the government to Stand with us with full support in this issue of Coronavirus COVID 19.

By Ambrose Madut Madut Thiep, Kingdom of Morocco
Email: madutthiepmadut@gmail.com
Tel: +212640001116

7. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
As far as Coronavirus is concerned in Ethiopia, the disease has been increasing
every day which leads to closure of all institutions, and it has seriously affected
South Sudanese students who are being sponsored by the government of South
Sudan and bilateral relationship with the government of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is one of the most countries which take a huge number of South Sudanese yearly to pursue education and here are three categories of scholarship;
1. Partial Government scholarship
2. UNHCR scholarship and other organizations (full funded),
3. Individuals {parents/guardians}

The Republic of South Sudan created an apprehensive memorandum of Bilateral
government scholarship relationship (BGSR) with the government of Federal
Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, which was started in 2011 and implemented in
2013 where Federal government of Ethiopia takes 100 students every year to
public Universities in the regions of Ethiopia, TVET College offers 100 students
yearly, both Civil Service University and Defense Colleges take agreed number of
Students yearly.

Currently, government scholarship students are suffering due to closure of
universities as a result of invisible world war called “Pandemic outbreak of
Coronavirus” and some universities have conditioned south Sudanese students to leave the campuses or else catering of food will not be provided to them. They
started implementing the order in Asosa University where South Sudanese felt
themselves by using their pockets and the pockets of Students have been emptied.

Therefore, South Sudanese students are helpless to cater for themselves the
following:
1. Food
2. Transportation (Students have got difficulties to transport
themselves FROM and TO South Sudan during vocational period hence it
increases drop out of school when they found unbreakable situations to transport themselves and within Ethiopia transportation
3. Accommodation
4. Health (hand sanitizers, face masks, hand gloves and aches, body weakness)
5. Other personal upkeep (Stationeries, sanitizers, toothpaste and toothbrush,
Domestic transports, airtime (cards) and other miscellaneous expenses in all
Universities of Ethiopia)

We kindly request the government of South Sudan to speed up and serve students at the critical condition with the approved pledge by the High-level Taskforce Committee which is meant for assisting South Sudanese students who are studying in Covid-19 affected countries of which Ethiopia is one of them.

Lastly, we request the government to take a full responsibility of buying tickets to go to South Sudan and provide money for South Sudan-Ethiopia tickets. This
means that each students will be provided with both tickets by the government.

Furthermore, we request the government to fully accommodate students in
quarantines in South Sudan, but not in masses.

By Maker Mangol Acien Yuol, Ethiopia
Email: makerabraham97@gmail.com
Tel: +251996693766

In conclusion, there is nothing that we can do to help ourselves because curfew
laws are sharp in our respective countries of studies which no one can even hunt
for food, and staying without sustenance is intolerable. Therefore, we request the
government to let the assistance reach us as soon as possible.

Best regards,
South Sudanese Students Representatives Abroad
Cc. Ministry of Higher education, science and Technology
Cc. Ministry of General Education
Cc. Ministry of foreign affairs
Cc. Ministry of health
Cc. Media
 

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