A Young, Passionate South Sudanese Wife: A Mother of Two Little Princesses 24 October, 2019
This article is based on the life of Daborah Yar Thuc Koch, MBA Graduate, Kenya Methodist University, Nairobi-Kenya.
Daborah was compelled to write and share her story with other student mothers like her. “I feel like education is a life,” she says. “We should always be inspired and gain the courage to overcome obstacles that may block us [from] meeting our expectations. In 2018, when my husband work[ed] contract with World Bank, IFC ended. We could not afford to pay my graduation clearance fees. My family decided to move to Juba, and I did not participate during the 2018 Kenya Methodist University commencement.”
She continues, “Being a parent and student is so demanding. It was a challenge to go to school, and [I] came home exhausted. I was always worried [about] get[ting] my homework done […] and submitted […] on time. These are possible educational challenges that a student mother […] experience[s].”
“I spent two years attending classes in the evening at Kenya Methodist University in Nairobi, Kenya,” says Daborah. “I was breastfeeding my first child when I started classes. And of course, I was [pregnant] with my second child and still attended classes. It was terrible […] for a pregnant mother like me to use public transportation, [but I] did not give up on the mission [I had] started.”
Daborah wants to educate other young South Sudanese student mothers. She says, “Most of the issues that student mothers go through are similar, but I experienced one [unique] thing […]: a link between maternity and meeting class requirements. One evening, I surprisingly called Mama Achol Malual to share with her the news that I [had given] birth to my second daughter, named after my mother-in-law, Atoch. She said, ‘Are you sure. I was not aware of your pregnancy.’ And we both cheered. Another situation that hit me hard, [leaving me unsure of] what to do, [was when] my two-week-old daughter felt sick, and I had my thesis research presentation due. I was so confused. However, I praised God to take care of my baby, and I went to the class to present my research. It was a terrible moment. I felt guilty for leaving my sick baby [so I could study].”
“After my thesis presentation,” Daborah goes on, “I rushed home for my sick baby. When I arrived, [I was surprised] that Paster John Chol Dau and his lovely wife, Sarah Alek Ajang, were at home. They praised my hard work as a mother who [had] just had a baby two weeks ago and [was still] attending classes, [though I hadn’t yet] recover[ed] from delivery pains.”
Daborah hopes that by sharing her experience, she will help to inform South Sudanese girls and young mothers of the importance of education.
The former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Daborah believes that anything is achievable, regardless of gender. She says, “Educating women in South Sudan should be a new strategy and requirement to meet the world Millennium Academic Development Goals (MDGs) for gender equality and women empowerment. This goal is an unfinished agenda, and it requires a comprehensive and transformative approach to ensure our women are not alone.”
Daborah also encourages husbands to be supportive of their wives. “As long as you have a supportive husband, just like Peter Lual Dau Deng, my life partner,” she says, “you can defeat any challenge, and of course, everything you plan to do will be achieved without procrastination. My message to unmarr[ied] girls is to choose their married husbands wisely. Once you [are] married, there is no turning back.”
Daborah tells student mothers that challenges are always ahead, but that they can be overcome. She urges young mothers not to doubt themselves but to persuade and encourage others to succeed and to share their life experiences with others. If “education is a life,” she says, every student mother should work to complete their studies.