Mingkaman Camp, South Sudan


Photographer: Andrew McConnell

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Racheal Athieng, 20, teaches eight-year-old children at a school in Mingkaman, South Sudan’s largest camp for internally displaced persons. Racheal lives in Mingkaman after being forced to flee her home in Twic East, a county in the east of the country. Across South Sudan, where around 4.5 million of its 11 million population are of school age, teachers are in great demand. But because most parents have traditionally taken their daughters out of school as early as possible, few of them are women. Racheal’s parents were an exception. They supported her all the way through her schooling. “After a certain age, many parents see their girls only as people to do domestic chores, then to be married to bring the financial benefits of a dowry to their parents,” says Racheal. “Women teachers have the advantage that they identify the slow-learners and encourage them. Men don’t do that as much. Women are more caring, not as harsh as the men,” she says.