Rebuilding South Sudan
As part of our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), RKR Engineering has been involved in rebuilding the lives of the people in a small village in the newly created country of South Sudan since 2007.
Thiangrial is a remote village in South Sudan that does not appear on even the most detailed maps. Bombed, destroyed and rebuilt four times during the liberation struggle from Northern Sudan, the village is a typical rural African community of around two thousand people, housed in grass-roofed mud huts along the banks of the White Nile River.
The Workshed project in the village, started by RKR Engineering’s owner, Russell Ricketts, managed by SIM/SIA and funded by SIMAid Australia, is continuing to train Southern Sudanese in the metalworking skills enabling them to provide themselves with a trade, a living and a future.
Russell travels to Thiangrial for 3 months a year to oversee the project and to train local men. In the first two and a half years eight apprentices have been trained to varying standards of competency in metalwork and business training—woodwork is next on the list.
Hands-on metal fabrication practice and product manufacture training follow initial lectures. In this way beds, doors, windows and structural steel components are produced and sold locally and into the nearest large town, Melut, about an hour away by boat.
A solar light and power business has also been started, run by one of the village leaders. This will enable him to stay with his family rather than having to travel and work in a large town and be separated from them. This separation of families for work is a challenge for Africa as a whole and was one reason the Workshed was established in a village. This fulfilled the late Dr John Gurang’s dream of “Taking the city to the country not the country to the city”.
The Workshed has also been involved in rebuilding some of the physical infrastructure of the village including designing and manufacturing a new church building in the village. Sponsored by a local Blue Mountains Church and members of the Springwood community, the new structure is now complete except for a concrete floor and some bamboo walls and its first church service was ceebrated there on 2nd December 2012.
The Workshed continues to provide skills and business training to the people of South Sudan. This brings capacity and capability to “Re-build the Nation’s Churches and State Infrastructures”.