MODERN DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PASTORALIST DAUGHTER

Awut Mayom Agok
Posted November 4, 2019 from South Sudan

I wish to start by acknowledging the vision and efforts of my dad who stood by me and ignored the pressure from the society and the path of ordinary life in the firm belief that I should get an education to be able to stand on my own two feet.

And in order to do this, my dream is to be able to lobby the government of South Sudan, to adopt and implement laws in the country for free, mandatory, universal education for boys and girls at least up until the completion of secondary school education and provide Trauma  Healing and Rehabilitation Centres for every child born and raised during the civil war lives with trauma and needs healing.

Education is the key to a structured society, government.  If my country wants to become an important component on the regional and international level, healthy and an educated workforce is fundamental.  And in this vision, gender equality is paramount.

My name is Deborah Awut Mayom, 26 years old graduate of Commerce from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

In the year 1998, I lost my mother when I was 4 years old, two years later, my father heard of a nursery girl’s school being opened 15 miles away from our home village.  As he was keen on me getting an education, he sent me to that school and I became one of the pioneers of Pancuai Girls’ Primary School, all because he dreamed to have an educated daughter. My father turned me into an experiment and an example to the community to value girls, I was made a champion of girls’ education in the Eastern County of Rumbek in South Sudan. I enrolled to Hope and Resurrection Secondary School in 2008, as one of the pioneers of the school, starting in a class of 69 students with only three girls in the class and in the whole school.  

But it hasn’t been an easy path to finishing my education. My father didn’t have the resources to pay for my higher studies. However, an American Missionary Doctor in South Sudan by Name Clarke McIntosh helped me to pay for my university education with Support from other friends, the Like of Patrick Hill and John Clarke Jr. 

Two years ago I was appointed the Administrator of Hope and Resurrection Secondary School: my former High School.  This was for me another milestone in a list of ‘firsts’ when I became the first female to head a learning institution in Lakes States, South Sudan.  My tenacity, resilience and determination through my journey in education has inspired many girls and parents today in my village, to accept that education is the key to life, and to perceive the importance that girls get an education as easily and as naturally as boys do.

At 26, I didn’t expect having such a huge responsibility so early in my life. When my mother died and left my 3 months old younger sister on my lap, my instinct told me, Mum left me with the responsibility of taking care of my siblings. Projecting that to the work I do today, the number of children I care for keep increasing and I find myself now managing a school which cares for and educates over 350 children. Lately, I realized my mother did not just leave me the responsibility of my siblings, but for many other less fortunate children in my community.   This was my ‘Ah ha’ moment in life, when I realized what was my purpose and mission in life.

 “I really appreciate my father a lot for giving accepting my responsibility. I lost my mum when I was very young. But my father has always been visionary about my education. He’s never lost hope on me and I never let him down.

In what South Sudan’s transitional constitution specific as the marriageable age, I could have been married off when I was a teenager before I completed my high school.

Still, my relatives and society sometimes put pressure on my dad trying to get me married off. But he always resisted this because he believes, my education is more valuable than the over 200 cows he would get as dowry. Proving to my relatives and the community about the vision my father set, I am now a role model in my village and the entire community. With my education and competency, I could have chosen to find a job in the big cities and live an easier life. But I chose to stay in my community encouraging other girls and parents to prioritize education. I felt it was my call to “Give back to the community working and support Girls’ education and empower women.”

In most parts of the country including Lakes States, many people think women can’t be good leaders because they are seen to be both emotionally and physically weak and can’t make critical decisions. I face challenges with my male students when exercising disciplinary majors, “Sometimes men see me as just a woman but don’t see the responsibility I hold as a woman.”

Nevertheless, I am ever determined to carry out my job. ‘’I didn’t back down on my responsibilities to look at myself as just a woman. My point is that gender does not matter, and the job can equally be carried out efficiently whether the administrator is male or female.  Merit is the issue, not gender.

 

Comments 17

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maeann
Nov 04
Nov 04

Hi Deborah,

I am inspired with how you have shared your life story. Your Dad must have been very proud of how you become now.

Welcome to World Pulse, a platform you can connect and inspire women.

You are a woman! Your work brought blessing to others.

ANJ ANA
Nov 04
Nov 04

Dear Deborah,
Welcome to the World Pulse family.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, I am amazed at you and your father's initiatives/contribution for transforming a girl into Hero and setting an example - ''Merit is the issue, not gender''. Hats off to both of you and so proud of you for all your confidence those gained through your experience and efforts, please convey my warm regards/respect to your father. I hope your little sister is doing well with your guardianship. I would love to hear you more in future. Keep sharing sister.
love and regards,
anjana

Tarke Edith
Nov 05
Nov 05

Hi sister
Welcome to world pulse.
We thank God that your father stood by you and make you what you are today .
Have a nice time with us. Here dear .

Anita Shrestha
Nov 05
Nov 05

Dear Sister
Really it impressed me. Plz inspire other women of WP with writing many many others things

Awut Mayom Agok
Nov 06
Nov 06

I will write as many as I can.

Hello, Deborah,

Welcome to World Pulse! It is such a joy that a new voice from South Sudah is rising up!

Your story is inspiring. I applaud you for honoring your father as you share your story with us. Congratulations on your achievement, too! I believe you are the best person to be in that role.
Thank you for sharing! I'm looking forward to knowing more about you. Please continue to share your stories here.

Welcome again to our growing sisterhood!

Awut Mayom Agok
Nov 06
Nov 06

Thank you dear Karen for the positive comments and encouragement. We must surely be the change we want to see.

You're welcome, dear. Amen to that! Have a great day!

lizzymark
Nov 06
Nov 06

Merit is the issue not gender,true talk Deborah. Thanks to your dad for his courage and to you for not giving up. Today you are doing same and more for the children in your care more grace for greatness.

Lisbeth
Nov 06
Nov 06

Dear Deborah,
How are you? Hope you are doing very well... You welcome to our platform.

Thanks for sharing and I hope to hear from you.
Regards

Awut Mayom Agok
Nov 06
Nov 06

Dear Lisbeth, thanks for the warm welcome. I am doing good and I hope you are doing the same. I will keep posting more stories atleast once every week or every two weeks depending on my busyness

Lisbeth
Nov 06
Nov 06

Splendid! Regards

Maya Iwata
Nov 06
Nov 06

Dear Deborah,
Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story which I hope will also inspire other fathers with your father's example of seeing your potential. I am impressed with how you have dealt with a great deal of adversity- losing a mother so young and the other challenges you have faced. Indeed you are a powerful role model who consciously chose to be a role model for other women and girls.

I also really loved the line in your story where you write: “Sometimes men see me as just a woman but don’t see the responsibility I hold as a woman.” That so perfectly sums up the situation. Women often have many responsibilities but as it is often upaid and unacknowledged work it is taken for granted.

Thank you for not only being a shining light in the world and also helping others shine as well.

Beth Lacey
Nov 07
Nov 07

Welcome to World Pulse. Thank you for your story

Ekitah
Nov 07
Nov 07

Hi Awut!
Thank you for sharing your story. I also thank God for giving you such a father who in the absence of your mum could do great. Please continue to raise your voice so as to inspire other women. Hoping to read from you soon. Have a great day!

Dr Jackie
Nov 08
Nov 08

Dear Awut,
Thank you for sharing your story with us! Apart from being such a leader, your writing skills are amazing. You have such a compelling way of putting across your story. One thing I love about this piece is in the way you project yourself. I do not see in your story a young girl who suffered a lot before making it, but what I clearly see is a young woman who rose above all oughts and who above all, believes in the unique qualities she has. This is truly amazing. As women, we must learn how to valorize the potential in us and talk positively about what we have achieved!!!!!!!!!! Kudos Sister!! Lots of Love from this end. Please keep writing.

Spiritedsoul
Nov 09
Nov 09

Hi Debra,
Welcome to world pulse! Thank you for such an expiring and encouraging story. You have definitely been through a lot and I love your attitude about your life, and your desire to others. Hugs and keep up the amazing work and I look forward to reading more from you!
Jess.