My name is Abari Charles and I was born in a country border to my own, Kenya. In the year of 1997, Sudan was still in conflict and my family and many others resided in border countries as refugees. My family and I moved to the United States in 2000 and today, I am currently a student at the University of Washington, Seattle. I am pursuing a bachelor degree in Sociology with a double minor in entrepreneurship and international studies. Its with great honor that I am a finalist for the Miss Africa Washington State 2017 pageant. This pageant has given African girls in Washington State an opportunity to raise awareness and solutions to the problems that Africans in the diaspora and in Africa, are facing.
My country, the Republic of South Sudan: has over 60 indigenous languages, 64 tribes, oil fields in the North, and agricultural lands in the South and is home to the second longest river in the world, the Nile. On July 2011, after 22 years of fighting, South Sudan become an independent country. However, shortly after South Sudan broke out in fighting once again, 2013. Since the war broke out again, many students have been forced to leave school and for some never returning back to any sort of education. According to UNICEF, South Sudan has the highest proportion students who are not in school. With 51% of primary and lower level children who do not have any access to an education. If it wasn’t for my family and many others I would not try so hard to succeed in my education. I know many South Sudanese who were once part of that percentage and I would have been also, without God’s grace. I believe that education is the strongest tool humans have to combat issues we face today. A good education can never be taken away, it becomes engraved in your brain and soon becomes your life style.
My short term goal is to bring awareness to the lack of education in South Sudan and help bring school supplies to many of the South Sudanese who are continuing their education in refugee camps. My long term goal is send South Sudanese youth to the African Leadership Academy in South Africa where they can learn to be a leader who will foster great changes, achieve social impact and address the challenges South Sudan and the continent of Africa faces. I hope to connect with AnaTaban, a local organization in South Sudan, to connect with youth who have the potential of being a great leader and the ability to contribute something great to South Sudan. I had the honor of going to the African Leadership Academy (ALA) for a global scholars program and I was able to see for myself why creating better African leaders is the key to the success of many African countries. While I was in ALA, I was told that 2015 was the first year that my flag stood tall in the cafertia among other nation flags. However, my flag was placed there for the first time, because it was the first time at ALA that there was a South Sudanese student. Although, I am thrilled to be the second South Sudanese to attend ALA, I believe that there should be more.
In order for South Sudan and other African countries to rise up and be great, it’s time for us to solve the root problem, which for many countries is bad leadership. South Sudan cannot grow with an increase of government funds being exploited or misused, and with leaders who value nepotism and tribalism rather than a unity of South Sudanese. I believe that South Sudan can be great, as long as my generation and many others take the initiative to be better leaders in all sectors, medical, agricultural, business and political.