JUBA, 28 July 2011 – The Ministry of Roads and Transport yesterday held a reception in honour of Captain Aluel James Bol, the first female pilot in the whole of Sudan.
Speaking at the luncheon held at the “Home and Away” hotel in Juba, the caretaker minister for Roads and Transport Hon Anthony Lino Makana said that Captain Aluel, who currently flies Air Ethiopia, has set a good example for all young women in the Republic of South Sudan.
Hon Makana also said that Captian Aluel, an employee of the Ministry, is helping South Sudan to negotiate for direct flights to Juba from Dubai and other cities in the world. He also said that she has been instrumental in initiatives to ensure airport security all over South Sudan.
“Women can no longer be restricted to the kitchen; they are flying high and even the sky is not the limit”, Hon Makana asserted.
The caretaker Minister for Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Hon Agnes Kwaje advised girls not to rush into early marriages but to pursue education and career development before starting families. She also appealed to families all over South Sudan to support the girl-child to enable them compete favourably with their male counterparts for opportunities in life.
Hon. Kwaje encouraged girls to emulate the good example set by Captain Aluel. “If Aluel who is an orphan can make it, every other girl in South Sudan can make it too,” she said. She commended Captain Aluel for demonstrating that it is possible to excel in spite of one’s background. “You are the pride of South Sudan,” she said.
Speaking at the same event, the Governor of Lakes State Engineer Chol Tong said that women in the State have a history of venturing in fields perceived to be reserved for men. He cited the example of the late Ager Gum who was the first female SPLA Commander who hailed from his State. He cautioned girls not to make excuses for mediocre performance but to work hard and excel just like boys.
Engineer Chol reported that Lakes State pays school fees for deserving girls. He called upon other States’ Governments as well as the central government to do likewise. He also called on all South Sudanese to stop negative traditions that discriminate the girls. “We should be courageous enough and condemn these harmful traditions and the people who perpetuate them”, he said.
Professor Isaac Riak, an uncle to Captain Aluel, described her as a curious, intelligent and disciplined girl who was destined to be an achiever. He also commended her for returning to serve her motherland. He said that it is through such acts of patriotism that the new Republic can grow. He expressed confidence that the new country will soon have its own airlines and that Captain Aluel will fly them.
Captain Aluel, who hails from Lakes State, is the daughter of the late Justice James Bol. She was overwhelmed by the gesture and was unable to say much. She obtained her aviation training from the United States of America through the support of the then Government of South Sudan via the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare.
The event was also attended by Hon Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the Caretaker Minister for Information as well as Hon Kosti Manibe, the Caretaker Minister for Cabinet Affairs. Senior officers from the Ministry of Roads and Transport, the SPLM and other Government agencies also attended the luncheon.