Nyamal's story

Jun 01, 2018
Nyamal takes her studies very seriously and does a lot of learning in her tent at the UN protection site where she lives with her family.


The Fragile Seven Series

Seven examples of countries in crisis. Seven girls, coming of age amidst unthinkable circumstances. They share a common courage, in the face of danger and deprivation. And they share something else: an urgent need for education. For all vulnerable children – especially, girls – education offers a lifeline to safety for today and hope for the future tomorrow.  

Part 5. Nyamal, South Sudan

The only future Nyamal could imagine was stolen before her eyes.
Attackers arrived in her South Sudanese village one day, sending gunfire cracking through the air. They rounded up the long-horned cattle that 10-year-old Nyamal loved and led them away.

There was no way to protect those cattle—or herself. Her family’s livelihood and financial security had disappeared with the armed men, along with any prospects for Nyamal’s future.

“We were depending on those cattle for our needs,” she explains. “We remained with nothing in our hands.”
Soon afterward, the South Sudanese conflict hit Nyamal’s village in full force. Her family ran for their lives.

They’re among the four million people who’ve been forced to flee their homes, since violence first erupted in 2013.

Yet, almost miraculously, Nyamal is now looking forward to her future with excitement. And her dreams are as high as the sky. Education is what’s taking her there.

Nyamal enjoying playtime outside of her school with her classmates.

At the UN protection site where she’s lived for the past four years, Nyamal’s had the chance to reimagine her future. The journey began at age 10, when she was invited to enroll in primary school—for the first time in her life.

Nyamal says going to school makes her really happy because she gets to learn and make new friends.

Today, although she’s still living at the UN site, Nyamal’s learning reading, writing, math, science, and leadership skills. “I want to be a pilot,” she told us. Even today, Nyamal’s doing great things. She’s a powerful advocate—determined that other girls should get to attend school, too.

“I want to tell the whole world—let’s keep going to school, let’s help children go to school and complete their studies! When you go to school, things become normal,” Nyamal says.

Given the chaos she’s lived through, “normal” is a wonderful thing indeed.

At Nyamal’s school in the camp, 3,000 students study in classrooms with bamboo walls. They learn to read and write, copy math equations scrawled on chalkboards, discuss science and how to be good leaders in the future.

Does Nyamal’s story speak to you? Then speak up! As the G7 Summit approaches, let the government of Canada know that you want them to invest in education for girls in crises by signing our petition so that all girls have the chance to shape their own futures.