After South Sudan achieved independence in 2011, Majok left his farm in Khartoum to resettle his family in the world's newest country.
Starting a new life in South Sudan with 6 children has not been easy. With minimal infrastructure, high inflation, and a challenging environment, Majok's move may have been doomed to fail.
A simple farmer, Majok has learned to make the most of his conditions and work hard to provide for his family. In Kuajok Town, he began work as a casual laborer and found access to community savings and loans through Five Talents' local partners and the South Sudan Community Bank. The savings and loans opened new opportunities and enabled him to establish a new farming business in Kuajok.
Majok used his first bank loan to buy land and start planting. With his harvest and continued casual labor, Majok paid back his premium plus a small interest. Over time, he continued to save and borrow, faithfully paying back 13 loans to enhance his business as well as to pay school fees for his children.
Many families in the region cannot afford to send their children to school, and South Sudan has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. In Kuajok, primary school costs an average of 6,000 SSP (USD 100) per child while secondary school runs 12,000 SSP (USD 200) per year. In an area, where most residents are subsistence farmers, education is considered by many to be a luxury. Nonetheless, with access to savings and loans, Majok has managed to take four of his children through school and he currently supports one of his sons at the top national school in the region.
"I am very much thankful for my father who is able to provide all my school needs since I was in primary school till he has taken me to senior secondary school. I am now in senior one secondary school. . .At first I never knew where my father used to get enough money to pay all my school fees, uniforms, books, treatment and sometimes pocket money for my lunch. Then he told me that he is a member of South Sudan Community Bank and that is where he get loans from when it is time we need money. South Sudan Community Bank in our community has done a great thing by providing our parents with money to enable them pay for our school requirements."
"As my father promised to take me to university after finishing secondary school, I will go to study to become a doctor. I will build a good house for my father and mother to live in a decent life in South Sudan. I will also take all my children to school as my father has now done to me."
Learn more about Five Talents programs in South Sudan.
Photos from Top: Majok outside his home in Kuajok, South Sudan. Majok shows off his savings book. Majok with his son Philip after school.