May, June and July 2021
A Date for your Diary
Join us on International Literacy Day, 8th September
Women’s Education Partnership is delighted to invite you to join us in conversation with groundbreaking British-Sudanese author, Leila Aboulela at Eventbrite Leila Aboulela Words Matter in celebration of International Literacy Day, 8th September this year. Leila Aboulela will be talking with British-Sudanese journalist, Adela Suliman and taking questions from the audience. You can book your tickets at Words Matter
“When I write I experience relief and satisfaction that what occupies my mind, what fascinates and disturbs me, is made legitimate by the shape and tension of a story. I want to show the psychology, the state of mind and the emotions of a person who has faith. I am interested in going deep, not just looking at ‘Muslim’ as a cultural or political identity but something close to the centre, something that transcends but doesn’t deny gender, nationality, class or race. I write fiction that reflects Islamic logic, fictional worlds where cause and effect are governed by Muslim rationale. However, my characters do not necessarily behave as ‘good’ Muslims; they are not ideals or role models. They are, as I see them to be; flawed characters trying to practice their faith or make sense of God’s will, in difficult circumstances.”
See A Thousand Prayers if you are interested in Sudanese Sufi traditions.
If you enjoy Sudanese literature, see our post on the first Sudanese woman novelist, Malikah ad-Dar – Trailblazer
Above, a stunning visual tribute to Malikah Ad-Dar Mohammad (1920 -1969) and her novel, variously translated as “The Great Emptiness/ Hollowness or The Wide Void/ Vacuum” (Alfaraagh al’ariiD,1970/2), shown here by kind permission of Assim Jubara, of Iqoona; https://www.facebook.com/iqoona/
Update on our Teacher Training Programme
See Teacher Training in Action for the latest scenes from our teacher training program for primary school teachers working in deprived communities in Khartoum. The program is carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and is funded by The British and Foreign School Society.
Below, teachers in training exploring lesson design.
Update on our Income Generating Programme for our Literacy Participants
We are very happy to confirm that, thanks to a generous donation by the Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust, together with pledges from individual donors, we now have sufficient funds to cover all the costs of our latest income generating project for our literacy participants. Our soap-making programme will enable our literary circles to earn much needed income lost during the Covid-19 pandemic while benefiting their communities with affordable and safe supplies of soap.
Read more in:
Our Literacy Programme in a Changing Sudan
Our REFLECT women’s literacy programme plays an essential role in enabling some of the most marginalized in Sudanese society to engage in local decision-making on issues that directly affect their communities. With increased literacy comes the self-confidence to speak in public, approach local representatives on questions of concern and initiate community change. Our participants receive orientation in local government structures, election processes and voting rights.
Learn more in Literacy and Democratic Engagement
Our Latest Cultural Posts
Meet the highly talented artist, Mutaz Mohammad El-Fateh, pictured above, who uses natural vegetable tints and dyes in his work. In a ten-question, quick-fire interview, Mutaz talks about his artistic vision and why nature is so important to him. Read the interview in Coffee and Hibiscus Flowers 2
Above, examples of Mutaz’s work created using coffee grounds. For more background on his work, see Coffee and Hibiscus Flowers
Read a personal tribute to the Sudanese Lyre in
The lyre vibrates with echoes of Sudan’s troubled past – its Ottoman coins, minted in Cairo and Istanbul and its Victorian halfpenny, the currencies of slavery, invasion and imperialist conquest. And yet it sings too – of trade routes across vast continents, spirituality, love and longing, and the enduring power of music to give solace.
Safia Elhillo, pictured above, is an American-Sudanese poet whose work embraces the dissonance and joy of living multiple cultures as she negotiates the Sudans of her exiled parents and those of her own generation.
Read extracts from her work in “Everything that is lost will be given a name”
Below, a verse from Safia Elhillo’s “to make use of water”, The January Children, p 4
“…they called our grandfathers the january children lined up by the colonizer & assigned birth years by height there is no answer we come from men who do not know when they were born & women shown to them in photographs whose children left the country & tried for romance & has daughters full of all the wrong language.”
The Hakkamaat are much more than female singers and poets. Read about their complex, troubled and troubling role in Sudanese life in:
Described as folk poet hawks and doves – even Sudan’s “gangster rappers”, the Hakkamaat wield power to incite and inflame, and to advocate passionately for calm and unity at moments of crisis. Renewed interest in the Hakkamaat, coupled with official efforts to remold their role as influencers must be set against underplaying or sanitizing their history as instigators of ethnic conflict. In contrast, while not technically Hakkamaat-penned, the rousing songs and chants of Sudanese women urging peace and disciplined resolve – songs instantly amplified by social media – were to play a key role during the peaceful 2019 revolution.
Some of the best sesame oil in the world is made in Sudan. In The Camel and the Sesame Seed we meet a sesame oil producer proud to be using traditional camel-powered milling methods.
Above, a blindfolded camel powers a traditional sesame oil press on the outskirts of Khartoum. Below, screenshot of the silky froth of recently pressed sesame oil from the brief video dedicated to this ancient craft, embedded and annotated in this post). Sesame oil produced in this way is known as Simsim al-Walad and is prized throughout Sudan and beyond for its purity, taste, nutritional and medicinal qualities.
January – March 2021
Our staff in Khartoum have been changing the lives of women and girls throughout the pandemic in quiet, determined and very real ways. Read how in International Women’s Day 2021
A Message from our Country Director 2021 – Working for a Better Future
In January this year we began rebuilding the most severely flood-damaged of our supported orphans’ elementary schools. The rebuilding work has only been possible because our supporters responded so generously to our December 2020 Seasonal Appeal. The rebuilding project is a testimony to schools, parents and local communities working together. The rebuilding is being undertaken by parents and other volunteers at weekends and is making a huge difference to staff and pupil morale. Read more in Community Empowerment in Action
Covid 19 has worsened educational inequality throughout the world. Its impact in Sudan has not yet been fully assessed but is likely to be substantial. The loss of schooling among the poorest has made it even more likely that young girls will never return to the classroom, be compelled to enter low-paid employment or suffer early marriage. While the impact of school closures has rightly occupied the focus of educational research, the impact of loss of women’s literacy classes during the pandemic has been overlooked. See Combatting Learning Poverty to learn how we are making sure our literacy program will meet the challenges of post-pandemic Sudan.
In March we began the first stage of our Teacher Training Program for elementary school teachers, serving some of the most deprived communities in Khartoum. This is an exciting new program for us. It will have enduring positive impact on our supported orphans who attend these schools, the teachers, as they acquire new skills, and the schools and the local community as a whole. Read more in Our Teacher Training Program
Below, some of the cultural posts published this year.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we look at the work of the groundbreaking Sudanese novelist, Malikah ad-Dar, in Malikah ad-Dar – Trailblazer.
Dar Al Naim is a remarkable Spanish-Sudanese artist, based in Segovia, Spain. Read about her powerful and vibrant work in Unmaskings
A’jbounii al-layla jou is one of Sudan’s most emblematic songs. Enjoy the song and the heroic story behind it in The Night They Held the Angry Nile at Bay
Latest News November 2020
We are delighted and honoured to welcome the writer, Leila Aboulela, as our new patron. Read more in Leila Aboulela, where you can also watch and listen to interviews with this remarkable author.
Sudan has suffered the worst floods in decades. Read how we are supporting the schools our sponsored orphans attend in some of the most deprived communities in Khartoum in Rebuilding Hope. You can read about our orphans elementary school support program in From Hardship to Hope Our Orphans Schooling Program
Throughout this year, our Khartoum director and her brave staff have been battling the Covid-19 epidemic and running Covid prevention campaigns in the literacy and orphans communities we serve.
You can read about their courageous and essential work in On the Front Line Coronavirus Prevention, Coronavirus – Our Prevention Work, Coronavirus Sudan Stepping Back from the Abyss 4 The Impact on Women, Coronavirus Sudan Stepping Back from the Abyss 3 – Lockdown, Coronavirus in Sudan Stepping Back from the Abyss Part 2 Economic Impact, Coronavirus in Sudan – Stepping Back from the Abyss The Health Context
Many of our literacy participants suffer severe visual impairment. Read about the life-changing work we do in our Eye Care Programme in Khartoum and our long commitment to eye health.
December 2019’s literacy post is Nothing About Us Without Us and explains our commitment to our stakeholders with disabilities
Some of our proud literacy graduates in November 2019 after attending our two-year community literacy program and passing the official Sudanese state literacy exam. See Celebrating for more on our graduates.
Your donation can make a huge difference! You can donate quickly and securely by clicking on our Virgin Money Giving link below:
Latest Cultural Posts
Every month you can read cultural posts on aspects of Sudanese theatre, photography, poetry, literature, art, customs and traditions. Below some of my more recent posts.
An Exploration of the Life and Work of the Anglo-Sudanese Potter, Siddig El Nigoumi
Giving Form to Clay is the first of two blogposts on women potters in Sudan and their untold artistic and technological legacy.
An exclusive Interview with the American Arabic dialectologist and film maker, Bentley Brown, on living in multiple worlds, Sudanese and Chadian Arabic and the challenges of diglossia.
The Sudanese theatre director and film maker, Moniem Ibrahim talks about his stunning dramatization of Uncle Abdur-Raheem:
Delicate Defiance focuses on the visual world of Amel Bashir Taha.
Two Fistfuls of Hope is dedicated to the poetry of the American Sudanese slam poet Emi Mahmoud.