WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER

Seventy one New Teachers for the Nuba

Gidel, June 26, 2008

Seventy one new teachers graduated from the Yousif Kuwa Teachers Training Institute (YKTTI) in Gidel, Sudan.

There was laughter and tears of happiness at the Yousif Kuwa Teachers Training Institute (YKTTI) compound in Gidel, Sudan, where 71 students graduated with teaching diplomas.

The celebrations opened with a short Bible reading and a Quran recital, which were promptly followed by a series of spirited performances from the YKTTI student choir.
The first speaker was student leader Ibrahim Said, who conveyed the students’ appreciation for the sacrifices made by the institute’s benefactors in facilitating their training, which he said would greatly benefit their communities of origin. students graduating

YKTTI Principal Maqbul Kherside then took to the podium and congratulated the graduates for the hard work and commitment they exuded in the course of the two year training programme.

Clearly proud of his students, Mr. Kherside was full of praise for their volunteer work during the construction of the YKTTI dormitories, and for their unfaltering commitment to their coursework despite numerous hardships, including once having to go for several days without food thanks to the delayed dispatch of provisions from the World Food Programme.

Further in his speech, the principal highlighted the integral role of the teacher in the political and economic emancipation of the marginalized Nuba people, describing the typical Nuba teacher as a willing sufferer who, as a community developer, is entrusted with the role of teacher, friend, and in some cases, parent to his or her pupils.

Mr. Kherside also invoked the cultural pride and dignity of the Nuba people, terming it an indispensable component in the prospect for lasting peace in the Nuba Mountains.

“Peace only prevails when people are able to realize who they are, in addition to what they are,” Mr. Kherside added to much applause from the audience. Principal YKTTI

At one point, the students broke into spontaneous song, hoisted the principal onto their shoulders and did an animated dance round the arena. Scores of locals joined the students, singing heartily while wiggling their bodies rhythmically and ululating.

Despite the sweltering midday heat, the free-spirited celebrants danced themselves to a near-frenzy, such that by the time they resumed their seats, many struggled to fan themselves with their bare hands in an attempt to contain the streams of sweat that trickled down their faces.

In a very brief speech, Koinonia Sudan Programme Manager Ernesto Kutti challenged the fresh graduates to face their inalienable role in the rebirth of the Nuba Mountains with confidence. Telling them that they counted among the future leaders of the New Sudan, Mr. Kutti encouraged them to help nurture the requisite dutifulness that was necessary to put the Nuba community on the stride its way towards long term development.

Koinonia’s founder, Father Renato Kizito Sesana, was chief guest at the ceremony. Father Kizito congratulated the graduates for the great effort they had put into their studies. Using anecdotes from his interactions with Yousif Kuwa - the legendary Nuba leader, SPLM Commander and teacher for whom YKTTI is named, Father Kizito urged the graduates to embrace their new community leadership role.

“A good leader, like the late Kuwa, is one who is dedicated to the cause,” Father Kizito told the graduates, encouraging them to prepare for the societal obligations they would face in addition to their teaching vocation.

There was an air of excitement as the graduates finally rose, one by one, to receive their certificates from Father Kizito. Many were escorted to the podium by ecstatic family members who sang and danced proudly as Father Kizito shook each graduate’s hand and presented the formal testimonial.

Although most YKTTI graduates typically find jobs teaching in local primary schools supported either by the education authorities or by several NGOs operating in the Nuba Mountains, many harbour a burning desire to advance their studies.

Hassen Ayoub Alfagara graduated at the top of the 2008 class and would like to study at a Kenyan University.

“My wish is to study Psychology and Administration at the university,” Alfagara says, “Education is the only way forward in our struggle to achieve development after the many years of war.”

A similar wish is expressed by 21 year old Esmat Musa Osmat.

“Hopefully, I will teach locally for two or three years, then enroll for a bachelors degree in Kenya”, Osmat says. “That is, if I am lucky to find funding,” he adds with an uncertain tinge.

Koinonia Regional Director Michael Ochieng and Amani Project Officer Dino Cipriani were also present at the ceremony. Other guests included Father Joachim Omolo of the Nairobi-based NGO People for Peace in Africa, and Michael Owiso, the coordinator of the Amani People’s Theatre in Nairobi.

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