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Education mission in South Sudan – Anita Henderlight back to WI to report.

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John Eyster
April 24, 2013

Education mission in South Sudan – Anita Henderlight back to WI to report.

Believing that education in SOUTH SUDAN is crucial for this young nation, Marilyn and I are looking forward ANITA HENDERLIGHT’s 4th annual WI visit! She will be staying in our home next week as she returns to WI to share her story and the story of Africa ELI.

ANITA's story includes her of taking off for SUDAN after reading the very popular book about the “lost boys of Sudan” which led to the organization of the AfricaELI (Education & Leadership Initiative). The website link for AfricaELI is posted later in this blog post for your access.

The book ANITA read was "They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky: The True Story Of Three Lost Boys From Sudan."

Noting that everyone loves a good story, my wife, Marilyn has been working with ANITA to offer a women’s retreat on Saturday, May 4 at Milton United Methodist Church based on ANITA’s story. My wife noted, “After reading a book about the ‘Lost Boys of Sudan, ‘ Anita Henderlight packed her bags, left a secure job with benefits, and journeyed from Tennessee to a country emerging from war. “ Now ANITA is the executive director of the non-profit organization called Africa ELI (Education and Leadership Initiative). As director she works to provide secondary education for young women in a country in which historically only about 7 percent of the females receive an education beyond seventh grade.

At the “Once Upon a Time” Women’s Retreat, Anita will share her own story of traveling to southern Sudan and the faith, hope and trust in God that make up her story. She will encourage participants to make their own leaps of faith as they follow their own callings from God.

The retreat will be held at Milton United Methodist Church, 241 Northside Drive, Milton. The retreat is open to all women from 10 years old to 100. It will be held from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. and include a noon lunch. Registration is $10 and should be made by April 27. Call the church at 868-2860 with questions or to request a registration form.

Anita has witnessed major changes including the birth of the newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan, and Africa ELI’s first class of 54 female high school graduates. Both milestones happened in 2011. She has seen these graduates go on to hold jobs and continue their higher education. In the newest country, Africa ELI is helping provide women leaders for its future.

Africa ELI now provides scholarships to boys, too. In 2012 Africa ELI was asked to accept 207 additional students fleeing from conflict and bombings in the Nuba Mountain region on the northern border of South Sudan. The acceptance of these unbudgeted-for students, both boys and girls, has really stretched their financial resources but they have made the necessary adjustments including going to triple decker bunk beds in the dormitories to accommodate the increased number of students. Now these Nuba Mountain refugees have a safer environment in which to live and learn. This is just the latest chapter in Anita’s story.

If you want to read more about ELI Africa, you can use this link to the website, “AfricaELI.” The features of the website include basic information with mission statement, projects and blog, etc.

Another online resource for AfricaELI is the Facebook page. You can use this link, "Africa ELI."

I share Marilyn’s anticipation of an update as to the mission of Africa ELI when ANITA is guest in our home next week. ANITA is going to be sharing her update report at several area events open to the public, including: Sun., 4/28 - Wellspring United Methodist Church, Madison at the 8:30 & 10:45 am services; Mon., 4/29 – Tomah United Methodist Church Women at 6 pm meal followed by program; Wed., 5/1 – Beloit River of Life United Methodist Church at 9:30 am and then at Bristol United Methodist Church at 7 pm; Thurs., 5/2 – Whitewater United Methodist Church at 10:30 am; Fri., 5/3 – Church Women United at Westminster Presbyterian Church at 11:30 am with luncheon and afternoon celebration; Sat., May 4 – Milton United Methodist Church Women’s Retreat from 10 am – 2 pm; Sun., 5/5 – Brodhead United Methodist Church at 8:30 and 11 am Services with potluck after 2nd service. ANITA will also be reporting to the Janesville Morning Rotary Club (6:30 am on 5/2) and the Janesville Lion’s Club (Noon on 5/7).

If you have questions about ANITA’s upcoming WI visit and/or AFRICA ELI, you are welcome to contact my wife, Marilyn through the Milton United Methodist Church office – leave a message and she’ll respond to you - Phone: (608) 868-2860. If you want to use e-mail, use the LINK with my WE THE PEOPLE blog and I’ll pass your e-mail to Marilyn. I KNOW she’ll be very happy to respond to your questions.

Since getting acquainted with ANITA, I confess that I pay a lot more attention whenever I hear or see any reference to SOUTH SUDAN. Anticipating the healthy development of this new nation among the family of nations – born July 9, 2011 so soon 2 years old. If you want to read more about South Sudan, you can use this link to Wikipedia’s feature article, “South Sudan.”

Here we go…

Mr. E.



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