It started in South Sudan
For the past fifty years, South Sudan has been ravaged by wars that have killed more than 2.5 million civilians and destroyed communities. Adult literacy is the lowest in the world and 1 in 5 children never reach the age of 5. Many organizations have looked to help this region in the form of handouts and supplements, however, it has only supported a system of dependence and poverty for the South Sudanese people. PEACE International was established to help break the vicious cycle of war and poverty through the education and empowerment of its people.
In 2012, Rosemary Khamati, Executive Director of PEACE, launched her first project in Biong, a small village just north of Bor in South Sudan. Three classrooms were constructed to provide education to over 200 local children. However, in December of the following year, a violent civil war broke out between the Dinka and Nuer tribes forcing the people of Biong to flee for their lives. Nearly 400,000 people were killed in this war. Many who survived were women and children who fled to Northern Uganda as refugees.
When Rosemary visited several refugee camps in the Adjumani District of Northern Uganda, she discovered that many people who she served in Biong had become part of this community. Rosemary set about carefully assessing the needs of the camps through interviews with the local refugees and the Office of the Prime Minister. It became abundantly clear that the lack of education was the most immediate need PEACE could address. Rosemary’s connections with the local church enabled the Office of the Prime Minister to assign PEACE to the Olua 1 settlement. There Rosemary could work alongside Pastor Simon who was a South Sudanese refugee himself. For three years Rosemary operated with only two classrooms serving over 200 children.
But solving the education deficit was just one part of the lasting solution PEACE hoped to create. The civil war had left many scars on the people living in the refugee camps. PEACE sought to address those scars that could not easily be seen. In order for peace to grow, healing had to begin. In 2015 PEACE introduced Trauma Healing and Peace Building training for church leaders from the two warring tribes settled in Adjumani camps. This program proved to be a huge success creating a dialogue between tribes that had not previously spoken since the war began. This program also helped leaders develop a message of peace that could be taken to other tribes in the region.
A Fresh Startin Uganda
With the school now flourishing and church leader training strongly in place, PEACE launched the third component of its sustainable solution: community development through women’s empowerment. Very few of the South Sudanese women have the skills to make their own income creating a reliance on handouts for survival.
For this community to thrive, this had to change. The South Sudanese women were extremely excited for the opportunity to learn business skills, trade and agriculture skills via PEACE training programs. PEACE also helped lead the formation of Village Savings and Loan groups to ensure financial stability for the future. What started with 30 willing volunteers for training turned into well over 150 in less than a year.
A snapshot into our world.
Children currently attending school in grades Pre-K through 3rd
Church leaders trained and performing outreach across 12 settlements
Women who are learning a trade to support themselves financially
Build with us!
Rosemary Khamati / Executive Director
With more than 26 years of experience in the nonprofit world and 14 years working in Africa relief and development, Rosemary Khamati is uniquely qualified to lead PEACE International’s work in East Africa. She’s a teacher by profession, an administrator by training, and a servant of Christ committed to holistic transformation through education, leadership training, evangelism, and community development . Rosemary’s philosophy is to start small, go deep, and work herself out of a job. She is “Mum” to four grown daughters – and “Grandma” to three delightful grandchildren.