The Decision Maker Helps Others Decide for Education

Makuach Abraham Kuf. Photo: LWF/DWS Kenya-Djibouti
Makuach Abraham Kuf. Photo: LWF/DWS Kenya-Djibouti

“My decision not to go back to Sudan has not been in vain,” says Makuach Abraham Kuf with a big smile. “You know, had the war not broken out again maybe I would be in South Sudan applying my Early Childhood Development (ECD) knowledge, starting up a colleges to train teachers in my country and mentoring them and helping them interpret the syllabus and understand the subject for the sake of creatively teaching the children just like I do here in the camp.”

Kuf has been the Senior Quality Assurance and Standards Officer (SQASO) at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya run by the LWF for the UNHCR since June 2013.

“I have risen through the ranks and am happy that LWF considered me for this position when they saw how hard working I am,” he comments. “I began as a teacher in 2003 then was promoted to head teacher, school meals program supervisor and then a Quality Assurance and Standards Officer before being a SQASO.”

Kuf has been instrumental in setting up the pre-schools in the emergency schools. He organized the registration and final establishment and implementation of the ECD in both the Hope and AAR preschools. The current enrolment stands at 1,002 (478 girls) and 535 (250 girls) in Hope and AAR through his efforts in collaboration with other staff and stakeholders. The total enrollment in the AAR and Hope the emergency schools at Kakuma is 11,091 learners (4,168 girls).

Born in 1978 in Jonglei State of Bortown in South Sudan, Kuf only managed to attend school for the first time in 1991 when the war broke out in South Sudan; he and some minors were rounded up and taken to a refugee camp in Ethiopia, where he joined class one and two.

“I arrived in Kakuma Refugee Camp in 1995 at the age of 17 and immediately joined class 4, and then I dropped out of school in form 3,” said Kuf, his face darkening as he narrates his life as a lonely teenager in Kakuma.

“I did not have any relatives as I left my parents in South Sudan when I was taken to Ethiopia. We only reunited with my mum briefly in Kakuma before she died; I have never met my younger siblings - as I am the first born - nor my father. I don’t know whether they are still alive. I dropped out of school because I was naïve, had no one to mentor me and no one to look up to.”

However, in 2003 Kuf made another important decision in joining an ECD certificate course that was offered by the Kenya Ministry of Education through the newly established Gilo ECDE Training Center.

“I grabbed the opportunity and graduated in 2004. That was the turning point in my life, a decision that has propelled me to where I am today,” he explains with a grin.

He is also a community elder in the multinational area of Kakuma 3, where he lives, and is charged with sensitizing parents about the importance of education. He encourages parents to send their children to school, and he also mentors the youth.

He is the decision maker.

By LWF Kenya-Djibouti staff in Kakuma camp

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.