By Zechariah Manyok Biar
June 18, 2014 - At this time when everything seems negative about South Sudan, there are still good stories to tell. There are South Sudanese who still think of their neighbors more than they think of themselves. One of these South Sudanese is Barbara Achola Aremo.
Barbara is from Eastern Equatoria State. She has a degree in Cardiovascular Nursing, Medical Technologist, and currently a medical resident student in the United States. She studied at Vanderbilt University and has done clinical research at Johns Hopkins University.
Barbara believes that the best way to promote peace among South Sudanese is through development. She is not just theoretical about her belief. She has founded a foundation called AcholaAremo Foundation.
AcholaAremo Foundation is a non-profit organization focusing on empowering women, utilizing education, funneling health care to individuals, not only in South Sudan but also in other parts of Africa. This shows how broader Barbara’s thinking of neighbors is.
The reason why Barbara picks women as the main focus for peace building through development is that women are the majority in many countries and they are the ones who bring children up in their early ages. If a woman is educated, she could be well-informed about how things operate in many parts of the world. She would also understand what is good for her children. This broader knowledge will help her bring her children up in meaningful ways. If a child is brought up in a way that he or she has positive attitudes towards others, then peaceful coexistence among communities could be achieved.
Barbara got this idea from how she was brought up. Both her mother Victoria Lubaya and her father Augustine Ernest Aremo are educated. So, she believes that children who are brought up by well-educated parents are fortunate and often think of helping others. She said during my interaction with her, “I was a fortunate child, with my belief to give to the less fortunate and support each other in all communities to progress as a healthy community.”
Barbara mostly believes that women are the ones who have influence in their children in children’s early ages. To invest in women and children, according to Barbara, means investing in a nation’s better future. She puts it this way: “I believe in investing in women and children mostly because they will in turn bring a positive outcome to the country.”
But Barbara does not think education alone is enough. She believes that a healthy mind is what matters. She thinks that it is in healthy minds that reasoning is developed. So, her foundation will focus on providing health to communities and individuals across the country.
Barbara’s ambition is healthy for us the young generation in South Sudan. She is teaching us that individuals who think positively can influence communities positively. She is also teaching us that what you build is what last longer than what you destroy.
Promotion of peace, as Barbara is teaching us by her action, can be done in many ways. Feeling of “Yes, we can” is what South Sudanese need. Both leaders at different levels and citizens like Barbara in South Sudan should promote this kind of attitude.
Zechariah Manyok Biar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org