The South Sudan Higher Education Initiative for Equity and Leadership Development at Indiana University in Bloomington received at $3.28 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development for a project to send Indiana University faculty to South Sudan to promote gender equality and female empowerment in the African nation. But when civil war broke out in December 2013, it became clear that efforts on the ground in South Sudan would not be safe. So it appeared to the leaders of the project at Indiana University that the effort was dead in the water.
But researchers concluded that if they couldn’t go to South Sudan, why not bring women from Africa to the Indiana University campus. Fourteen women from South Sudan were selected to come to Indiana to study for a master’s degree in education.
Terry Mason, professor of curriculum and instruction at Indiana University and co-leader of the project stated that “we were able to identify 14 courageous and brilliant women from South Sudan who qualified to come and study for a master’s degree. We were able to navigate the difficult visa procedures and other obstacles that are encountered in this kind of work and get all of them to Bloomington, and I have to say, I’m still stunned that we were able to do that.”