When the first gunshots sounded, Aamira* was sleeping with her children. The silence of that Sudanese night was broken by the outbreak of war.
Aamira fled Sudan from the Blue Nile state in 2012, the year when civil war started in the country. Eleven years later, the memories of that journey are still vivid in her memory.
“We spent the night in a valley nearby and in the morning, we started to follow where other people were going. My brother had tried to go back to get some clothes and food that we had left at home, but there was no way to reach it because of the shooting. All the roads were cut off, and there was so much looting and killing.”
She spent days in the bush without food, water, or medicine before reaching Maban refugee camp in South Sudan, where she now lives with her family.
There Aamira started to build a new life, pursuing her dream: to become a teacher. She enrolled in a four-year teacher training programme conducted by JRS. She obtained a certificate in education from the University of Juba and now teaches in two primary schools in Gendarussa refugee camp.
“For me, education is everything. I experienced first-hand the suffering of having to drop out of school because I was forced to marry as a child.” Despite the difficulties of teaching and studying for a mother and a woman working in a refugee camp, Aamira took up the challenge to bring her testimony to other refugee girls and women.
“It is important that refugee girls and women study and reach secondary school. Then, if they want to get married, they should have the opportunity to choose it when they are older. If they want to study and have the opportunity to do so, they should continue and add new knowledge to what they have already acquired,” she concluded.
*name has been changed to protect the identity of the person.
*this story was originally published by JRS eastern Africa.