Teachers in South Darfur are on strike over the failure of the state government to pay them their salaries for October as well as years of pay arrears, half of which had been promised for October but never paid. This is only the latest in a series of strikes across the Darfur region. In September, school students demonstrated in solidarity with teachers striking for the same reason in North Darfur. Darfur has been characterised by years of civil war, leading to some 300,000 deaths and the destruction of the economy. The capital of South Darfur, Nyala, is in almost permanent darkness at night due to power outages, there is a shortage of drinking water and endemic armed violence.

Now teachers, who are working in abysmal conditions and against all the odds, are having to take action yet again in order to secure their salaries and enable them to continue with their work. As we reported last month, Sudan is a 'Highly Indebted Poor Country' according to World Bank criteria, and this despite the fact that until the secession of South Sudan it had access to considerable oil wealth. The unequal sharing out of the wealth has been one of the main causes of the conflicts in the country, including that in South Darfur. Now oil giants like Total and Exxon are negotiating deals to enable them to extract oil and profits from South Sudan. Meanwhile all over Sudan and South Sudan, including in Darfur, teachers and other education employees have been doing their best in impossible circumstances.