Literacy for Non-Literate Shilluks

Bible Engagement in South Sudan


This literacy project aims to bring growth and reconciliation to people in South Sudan – one of the world’s most troubled nations.

By providing Bibles to Shilluk Christians in their native language and offering literacy classes to help people learn to read and write, this project will give Christians the ability to read and put into practice the word of God.

The Need

In the ten years since they received their independence, social unrest, armed conflicts, tribal disputes and other challenges continue to impact the daily lives of the South Sudanese. South Sudan has a high rate of illiteracy; according to a 2018 Global Report on Literacy, only 34.5% of the population is literate. With 70 major ethnic groups – each with its own language – only 1 out of 10 women and 3 out of 10 men are able to read in any language.

The high rate of illiteracy in South Sudan is due to the armed conflicts that devastated Sudan for decades before the split of the country in 2011, and the suffering incurred by the longest-running civil war in Africa.

The Shilluk people in particular (of whom about 45% are Christian) were badly affected by the conflict. Illiteracy concerns mostly women above the age of 15.
It is in this context that the Bible Society considers this literacy project a priority, to help Shilluk Christians read the Bible in their own language. A focus on adult literacy is crucial for many areas of life: reading the Bible, learning basic rules of sanitation for their homes, selling or buying in a marketplace, and helping children with schooling at home.

Download Project Fact Sheet

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