|“My name is Awut Akok, a recent graduate of Solidarity Teacher Training College, class of 2022. I am married and a mother of 3 beautiful children who are currently staying with my mother and husband in Abyei. I learned about the STTC call for applicants through Fr. Stephen Biong, the Parish priest of St. Mary’s Church, Abyei. After a successful application, I joined STTC college in May 2019. The entry journey into STTC has not been easy for me since I have an Arabic pattern background. I studied Nursery up to Senior Two in Comboni Phillip Primary School, Port Sudan; which is predominantly Arabic schooling. I completed my Senior 3 in 2016 at Muktar Secondary School, Wau. In Sudan, English was not taught as a major and it certainly wasn’t the language of instruction. This proved to be a challenge during the application process into STTC, where I failed the initial interview. However, my determination to get an education was beyond my fear of failure. Margaret Scott saw this and advised me to take the bridging course for 1 semester to help me improve my English. This paid off in the long run with a promotion to level 1 and a chance to join other students in the teaching course. Many of them laughed at my spoken English in the beginning, but this made me more determined to learn the language.
STTC has enabled me acquire an education at almost no cost; unlike before, where my husband and mother were supporting me with payment of school fees. The excellent boarding facilities have also enabled me to concentrate more in my studies with little to no interruptions.
The college has also improved my leadership skills. I was the first female student president of the STTC in 2021. I never imagined it could be possible at the beginning of my course, due to language barrier. Coming from an Arabic pattern, communication was a challenge that affected my confidence during interactions with other students.
The college has also equipped me with new methods of instruction as far as young children are concerned. The lessons taught have been valuable even to my own children. E.g. beating of children as a form of discipline is discouraged and STTC has taught me better. I can now talk to my children and guide them without using a stick. This has in turn promoted open communication with my children who feel free to share their problems with me more than before. When I go back to Abyei, I will continue in this line of work by teaching in Comboni Primary School, which will also support the Parish children and promote literacy in Agok.
I finally want to thank Solidarity and its donors for supporting vulnerable communities in South Sudan to gain quality education. Special thanks to Br. Chris and his team for believing in me and teaching me since Level 1 to Level 4.”
18 May 2022
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