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COVID-19 Crisis: Students abroad calls for urgent help from government as situation worsen

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South Sudanese students in Egypt, China, Turkey, Ethiopia, Morocco, Indonesia, and Malaysia, said their situation is deteriorating as cases of Coronavirus in their hosting countries increases.

In their joint statement, the students cordially appreciate the parties involved in the revitalized peace agreement.

“The signing of the agreement which resulted in the formation of the unity government has enormously brought joy and hope not only to us but also to the whole world”, said the representatives.

Secondly, the joint body appreciate the government for the necessary preventive measures taken so far to hamper Covid-19. As it’s said, “Prevention is better than cure” all South Sudanese have to get involved in the prevention of the virus.

Thirdly, the students’ representatives from the said countries appreciate the South Sudan Task Force Committee on COVID-19 for endorsing $3 Million to support them

” We welcomed the decision with heavy smiles. Possibly, we urge at one hand the government to release these funds immediately so that we can early shop foodstuffs, masks, gloves and pay rent since the end of lockdown days are uncertain.
In addition, we would also like to inform the government and the South Sudanese at large that we are all well and none of us has been infected by Covid-19. We pray that we all remain free from this fatal pandemic” – they said.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, South Sudanese Students in various countries around the globe have been facing alarming consequences. The student’s representatives from different countries have decided on writing out these perturbing challenges;

1. Turkey

The first badge of South Sudanese Students on Turkish government scholarships came to the country in the last quarter of 2013. By then, the favorability of the monthly stipends in covering the students’ needs was very indisputable, this great financial condition went on until late 2017.

However, the political misunderstandings between Turkey and its allies roughly exterminated her economy, this crisis has since then ruined the financial status of students in the country. In 2017, students received approximately $200 (700 Turkish Lira) as monthly stipends but due to currency devaluation, this amount later dropped to nearly $100 when a dollar reached a pinnacle value of 6.87 _ 7.00 Turkish Lira as reported on 13th Aug 2018.

From thenceforth, living conditions have deteriorated and most of the students who don’t have external support go through unimaginable struggles.

To exasperate the situation, approximately all students under Turkish scholarship study courses whose language of instruction is Turkish; a language they get to learn for 9 months before commencing in their respective departments.

Consequently, some of the students end up showcasing displeasing performance due to the challenge the language post, as a result, their scholarships are either cut or completely terminated.

As I write this, there are students whose scholarships have been canceled.
These students used to sustain their life through part-time jobs alongside their studies, but right now, we’re in a SEMI-LOCKDOWN as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, almost everything has been closed in the country. I can’t even imagine their situation if the 3-million support still delays for the next few days.

Furthermore, in the last two weeks, the coronavirus cases have surged in Turkey with 7,402 COVID-19 positives and 108 related death cases as reported by the minister of health on 28/03/2020.
Generally, we are all in unnerving circumstances and would like to let our government be informed of our current situation in a country badly stricken by COVID-19. Your help will surely make a huge difference.

By Abraham Chol Kur Deng
SSSAT president, Turkey
Email: cholkuragatbeek123@gmail.com
Tel: +90 534 850 52 48

2. Indonesia

Basically, all South Sudanese students in Indonesia are under partially funded scholarships offered by the universities which give them free education and a monthly allowance of $(100-150) depending on the institution.

Health insurance, visa, and accommodation are paid by the students themselves.
The fact that these scholarships don’t offer health insurance has risen it the most burdensome condition for any student to bear at this critical moment.

Ever since the government of the Republic of Indonesia issued the national state of emergency, students have not received their monthly allowance which covers all their basic needs. It’s then becoming hard for them to purchase prevention items such as hand sanitizers, face masks, hand gloves, and foodstuff.

Indonesia has no well schemed bilateral relationship with South Sudan hence driving it out of handles for the students to communicate their issues of concern with the government since they act as the ambassadors for South Sudan in international conferences.

By John Mathiang Machar, Indonesia
Email: Mathiang1997@gmail.com
Tel: +6285233429705

3. Egypt

Since the cut the government cut down the stipends of scholarship students in Egypt in 2014, life has become worst for those who still pursuing studies in Egypt. The misery we live in is inestimable, as the matter of fact majority of South Sudanese students in Egypt are on partial scholarship; the government of Egypt is only responsible for school fees while accommodation, textbooks, and all other requirements needed for studies are students’ obligation.

The current economic situation in the country now has made the matter even worse as most families can’t afford to raise half a hundred dollars left alone to support the now stranded students in Egypt.

To make matter shoddier the current situation; of Corona Virus (COVID-19) has made life so miserable and as a result;

• Some students have been chased out of the hostels since the closure of the universities. Most of these students are not able to afford to rent outside on their own and as the result, they are forced to live together in one place in greater numbers, imagine in this situation about 15 people sharing the same house.

• Others have been lockdown in the hostels without food ratios, although some universities do give some junky monotonous food items some students still can eat that food due to maybe medical condition (Imagine being feed on tuna for an entire month).

• Students who have no relatives to support them are in a dilemma as the whole world is under lockdown; as the result, they are not able to move out a do some manual work that used to be the main source of getting income. Even those with support can’t get any help as most banks across the world are closed.

There are so many problems that one can even write a book about, however, but for the sake of brevity, I on behalf of South Sudanese students in Egypt would like to make the following recommendations to the COVID-19 virus task force and the government of South Sudan.

• To ask the South Sudanese embassy in Egypt to access to the situation of the students studying in various universities of Egypt.

• To Empower the embassy to accommodate the students send out from their universities especially the universities big cities like Cairo and Alexandria.

• To provide the minimum stipends to all students during this time of Coronavirus so that they are able to buy the food and other basics items that might be necessary during this period.

• Conclusively, we know these are really tough time and our prayers are with our country, however, it’s high time for the leaders of our country to demonstrate the strong leadership quality of caring for all its citizens.

The government now has a choice either to do something or watch the situation deteriorate. Any little effort done now will be appreciated.

By Elijah Achiek Panchol, Egypt
Contact information:
Email: achmajhok@gmail.com
Phone: +201110523183

4. China

South Sudanese Students’ in China due to the prevailing situation of Corona Virus in China since it was epidemic in china and now it’s become pandemic our situation has never change it continues to deteriorate on a daily basis as we have been indoors for nearly three months now and still we’re not allowed to move freely outside like before.

We are hardly allowed to go to the Supermarkets to buy foodstuff at least online delivery which is overpriced now and our conditions are worsening on a daily basis whether partial or government scholarship the current deadly Covid-19 (coronavirus) situation have placed all of us in the same dilemma.

Because prices for commodities like; Foods staff, sanitary materials (face mask, hands sensitizers) and Medication for students with some health problems who cannot help themselves because of hardship faced daily financially.

Students in China are not doubting our government’s ability in keeping south Sudan free from Coronavirus(COVID19) because there’s nothing hard to (us) South Sudanese when we join hands together with the rest of the World in this fight.

So as South Sudanese students here who have witnessed this deadly virus first hand as here was the epicenter we urge our beloved citizens to take this virus seriously and let’s listen to our government directives through the ministry of health and let’s all follow good hygienic practices by that we will surely win this battle.

From EBOLA previously our government was able to shield us off from it so let’s unite as south Sudanese behind our leaders in overcoming this virus and making our country great again.

Since our government is always a concern of her citizen studying outside the country and within we encourage the initiative to support students even later after we win this COVID-19 fight we need special consideration together with countrymen and women that are on partial or self-sponsorships studies in a different part of China though some of the students ’re supported by scholarships.

Also, we want our able government through our embassy to look into this problem as to why we south Sudanese students here in China aren’t able to use our national passport to open bank accounts or receives money either in a western union or other agencies such as money gram or any bank in china unless one sends or receives through other nationalities passports one won’t be able to access these banking services mentioned above. We believe this is a diplomatic issue that needs to be resolved quickly in order to make our lives here as a student goes smoothly since we are a sovereign Country like other Nations.

By Arol Deng Arol Mabuoc
SSC-President
Email: arolmagnetic@hotmail.com
Tel: +8615608450760.

5. Malaysia

The South Sudanese Student’s Association in Malaysian Universities/SSSAMU do hereby appreciated the measures, level of preparedness and response made by our government to help curve the risks of potential exposure and spread of the virus in the country, At this time we need to stand together as a nation than ever before we’re at the midst of global pandemic and dealing with an emerging virus to ever hit and face the humanity, so there is nothing less when it comes to what we can pull together in an effort to fight the virus at the stake of keeping our people safe.

Malaysia is by far the most hit country and a hotbed of COVid 19 cases in the region of South East Asia with a staggering rise in numbers of cases to 2320 as of 29th/3/2020.

In this country there about 140 South Sudanese students (both government and private sponsors) at a high level of learning in Various Malaysian universities throughout the Peninsular.

As many countries are struggling to contain the spread of the virus, the Malaysian government has made some drastic effort in the fight to help bring down the curve by endorsing restriction of movement order until 14th /4/2020.

The entire country is a complete lockdown, all non-essential businesses including Universities are closed until further notices or unless promising effects are observed in the near future.

Given the necessary measures and response adopted by the Malaysian government with the coronavirus pandemic upon us, we are currently facing the very real prospect of spending one month indoors due to Social distant order.

We understand this is not the right time to appreciate things we usually took for granted now we are being in a middle of global pandemic thousands of miles away from home, listed below are some items and dire challenges facing us in Malaysia;

• Foods stock
• Sanitary equipment (face mask, hands sensitizers)
• Medication.

Over the counter medication for students with some health problems.

•Personal upkeeps.

We reallappreciateate the decision and swift action made by H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit to form the high-level task force for COVid 19 and the grant of the sum of $3M to South Sudanese students studying in countries hit by this global Pandemic, both in the region and beyond African borders.

By Chany Wicgoal Chatiem Luony, SSSAMU President Malaysia
Email: wicgoalchany@yahoo.co.uk
Tel: +60167953053

6. Morocco

We are humbly requesting the government of South Sudan to consider the crucial time we are in, On behalf of students who have been offered a Partial scholarship by the Kingdom of Morocco in collaboration with the ministry of high education in the Republic of South Sudan.

As far as Coronavirus is concerned in the Kingdom of Morocco, the disease has been increasing every day which leads to closure of all Universities/Institutions and it has pretentiously on South Sudanese students who are being sponsored by Moroccans Agency for International cooperation and in collaboration with the government of South Sudan.

However, as a student leader has been trying for several years requesting assistance from the ministry in order to solve some student’s issues that are facing them in their various residents.

We would like the government to help us in accommodations and lodging at least to rent for us two residents per city in Morocco where there are a lot of students in this difficult time, many students have been the refrain from their studies because they cannot manage to pay for rent, hence the union of south Sudanese students in Morocco has requesting the government to Stand with us with full support in this issue of Coronavirus COVID 19.

By Ambrose Madut Madut Thiep, Kingdom of Morocco
Email: madutthiepmadut@gmail.com
Tel: +212640001116

7. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

As far as the Coronavirus is concerned in Ethiopia, the disease has been increasing every day which leads to closure of all institutions and it has pretentiously on South Sudanese students who are being sponsored by the government of South Sudan and bilateral relationship with the government of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is one of the most countries which take a huge number of South Sudanese yearly to pursue their Educations and here are three categories of scholarship;
Partial Government scholarship
UNHCR scholarship and other organizations (full funded),
Individuals {parents/guardians}.

The Republic of South Sudan created an apprehensive memorandum of Bilateral government scholarship relationship (BGSR) with the government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia which was started in 2011 and implemented in 2013 where Federal government of Ethiopia takes 100 students every year to public Universities in the regions of Ethiopia, TVET College offers 100 students yearly, Civil Service University takes agreed numbers of Students yearly and Defense Colleges take agreed number of Students yearly.

And therefore Government scholarship students are suffering due to closure of universities as a result of invisible world war called ‘’’Pandemic outbreak of Coronavirus’’’ and some universities have conditioned south Sudanese students to leave the schools or else catering of food will not be provided to them and they started implementing university’ statement in Asosa University were South Sudanese felt themselves by using their packets and the packets of Students have been emptied.

Therefore South Sudanese students are helpless to cater for themselves the following;

• food
• transportation(Students have got difficulties to transport themselves FROM and TO South Sudan during
• vocational period hence it increases drop out of school when they found unbreakable situations to transport themselves and within Ethiopia transportation
accommodation;

Health (hand sanitizers, face masks, hand gloves and aches, body weakness)
Other personal upkeeps (Stationeries (printing &photocopying of handouts, pens, notebooks or working papers, lab requirements, etc.), Soaps, Body Lotions, toothpaste and toothbrush, Domestic transports, airtime (cards) and other miscellaneous expenses in all Universities of Ethiopia)

We kindly request Government of South Sudan to take their bicycles very fast and serve students at the critical condition in Ethiopia in time as H.E President of the Republic of South Sudan made a degree to help South Sudanese students who are studying in Countries where a pandemic outbreak of Coronavirus has been confirmed in and Ethiopia is among the Countries which has got confirmed Positive cases.

Inclusion, the students demand their budgets be given to them and meet their needs in persons not accommodating them in one place in Ethiopia but in various universities to avoid the spread of Covid_19 from one person to others! We need our demands to be fulfilled!

Thanks
By Maker Mangol Acien Yuol, Ethiopia
Email: makerabraham97@gmail.com
Tel: +251996693766

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