Sarah Naduru Juma of South Sudan is the proud recipient of a first class honors degree in Social Work and Social Administration from St. Lawrence University in Kampala, Uganda. The classification of first class honors is not easy to achieve! It requires endless dedication and a commitment to learning outside of the classroom to conquer this highest level of undergraduate success. St. Lawrence University and the Wells Mountain Foundation are fortunate to have such a strong leader amongst the graduating class of 2016!
Sarah also is honored and proud of being the first female Empowerment Through Education WMI Scholar from South Sudan and the first female WMI Graduate Scholar from her nation. She hopes that many more South Sudanese women will benefit from the support WMI provides.
The Empowerment Through Education program is committed to supporting students in developing nations, preferably their home country or a neighboring nation. For Sarah, staying within her home nation that was experiencing a civil war, food insecurity and daily unrest was not a safe option. She is one of hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese citizens who have made an incredibly difficult decision to flee their nation for safety and the chance to begin living a better life. Sarah and her countrymen left their homes, the lands they grew up tilling and family to seek safety and shelter in Uganda. It was through perseverance that Sarah acclimated into a new culture, worked hard to continue her education, was accepted into St. Lawrence University and was chosen out of applicants worldwide for the Empowerment Through Education program.
Sarah shares, “My initial plan after completing my studies was to go support my community in South Sudan but the country is back at war and a lot horrible things are happening there.” Instead, she has decided to continue her dedication to social work and is working with urban refugees in Kampala and Kirayandongo, Uganda. She reports, “…even though I have no funds or other resources to meet their needs, my presence and interaction itself shows to my people that there is someone who cares about them. I carry out needs assessments on a regular basis and generate project proposals to address the existing community needs and problems…”
Sarah believes in the benefits of working on the ground with the people.
“My professional goal is to render quality and timely services to the most vulnerable people (including children, women & persons with disabilities) in our community. To reach this goal, my presence and availability to serve within the community is very important because that helps me to identify the genuine problems and needs existing in the community; this undertaking enables me to devise appropriate ways of addressing the existing problems and needs of my community through constant assessments and interventions (project proposals).”
Sarah is an active member of the newly formed WMI South Sudan Fellowship and shares her passion for improving the lives of others, “I hope we shall form an active, efficient and effective South Sudan Fellowship that will help us to serve our various communities passionately wherever we are. We went to study in order to serve our people; so whatever we do, should aim at serving the needs of our community.”
“I am grateful to Wells Mountain Foundation for having supported me to complete my education. I will always be part of you and I will continue to serve my community here in Uganda. I plan to look for additional support to continue with a Master’s degree in Gender and Development one day.”
We know that Sarah will continue to soar! She is a leader with a heart of gold and deep dedication for improving the lives of others.