Tenth-grade students at Vermont Commons School (VCS) partnered with the Sudan Development Foundation (SUDEF) to create a video about SUDEF’s work bringing health services to villages in rural South Sudan. The partnership grew out of a Challenge 20/20 project undertaken in the students’ Global Studies class, taught by Mark Cline Lucey. The VCS students were paired with ninth-grade students at International School in Suva in Fiji to explore global health issues.
“The Challenge 20/20 program and collaborating with SUDEF taught me more about current events and history than any history book, article or video ever could have,” said Nora Hill, a student from Jericho who participated in the project. “Working with SUDEF was exactly what I expected service-learning to be – identifying a need in the community and seeing what you could do to fix it. What I didn’t expect was how connected and invested I would get.”
Over the course of many subsequent visits to the SUDEF office in Burlington, the students learned about the work the organization is doing to ensure that over 20,000 people in South Sudan have access to health services. SUDEF’s first project was to raise funds to help build the Kalthok Health Clinic, the first health center in its area of South Sudan.
Recognizing the value of the work SUDEF is doing and its importance to the local community in Kalthok, the students brainstormed ways that they could be of service to SUDEF’s mission. They concluded that video and social media could advance the organization’s reach, and began their work of researching, scripting, filming, editing, and re-editing a four-minute awareness-raising video. The video has gained a lot of attention for SUDEF and brought in over $1000 in donations that have purchased hundreds of maternal health kits.
“SUDEF is so grateful to the students for the creativity, compassion, talent and hard work they brought to this project,” said Julie Elmore, SUDEF’s Director of Communications.