Sahar Al-Tayyib, the Sinnar University student, said her institution had shut down several times during the past three years. Now she has lost hope of resuming her studies after the floods.
“There is neither a suitable study atmosphere nor a work horizon,” she said. “I was thinking about getting married and building a family, but the flood also destroyed that,” she added. “The floods destroyed the house I was preparing to move to with my fiancé after marriage. This disaster destroyed all my dreams.”
The Psychological Toll
Mohamed Essam, a second-year accounting student at East Nile University, a private institution in Khartoum Bahri, north of the capital, said the effects of the latest disaster to hit Sudan go beyond material damage.
“We are very tired psychologically. We can hardly escape one dilemma before we get into a bigger one,” he said. “I don’t think we will be able to resume studies even if our university was not affected by the flood.” He pointed out that many of his acquaintances lost their homes and businesses to flood damage.
[Enjoying this article? Subscribe to our free newsletter.]
Fatima Hamad Mohammed Abusan, a professor of family science and a psychologist at Rafaa Hospital in Gezira State, said it will be important to deal with the psychological toll of the disaster when educational institutions resume.
“Tension, sadness, anxiety and anger are all negative emotions that affect the student’s ability to comprehend lessons, whether in traditional classes or online,” she said.
She also pointed out that online education was no longer available to many, especially those who lost their homes, properties, books, and school supplies, in addition to the damage the flood caused to the infrastructure of the electricity grid and the Internet.
“This disaster is like no other,” she said.
Calls Not to Give Up
Seif El-Din Hassan Al-Awad Abdullah, a professor of media at Omdurman Islamic University, in the city of Omdurman across the river from Khartoum, hopes education can resume quickly.
“There is no doubt that the extent of the damage is great,” he said. “But I hope to resume studies as soon as possible, given its role in helping everyone, students and professors, to resume their normal lives and its importance in preparing generations capable of building the country in the desired way.”
Some activists seek to provide assistance to help and encourage students to complete their studies, despite the damage caused by the natural disaster.
Maysa Yassin Khalifa Ibrahim, founder and general director of Awan Al-Mostaqbal Private Schools, has converted her school into housing for students who lost their homes, so they will be able to apply for high school exit exams that were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Education continues in areas not affected by the flood and it must continue in the affected areas,” she said.
This is not the first time Ibrahim has experienced floods in Sudan; she previously saw floods in Khartoum between 2004 and 2005.
“I feel exactly what many Sudanese in the affected areas feel,” she said. “I was like them without home, food, or support. “So today I strive with all my capabilities to provide assistance. We are now seeking to determine the needs and then provide help for families so that students can return to study as soon as possible.”