Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. War, destruction, and poverty have never prevented Dut Leek Deng from becoming a lifelong learner and teacher.
The civil war in South Sudan left more than 20,000 children orphaned and displaced in extreme conditions and unknown lands.
The long and enduring journey that these children took to seek refuge eventually led them to become known as the Lost Boys of Sudan.
Today, one of these Lost Boys is using education as a key to unlock opportunities for people back in his home country. Education has always played an important role in Dut Leek Deng life.
As the first Lost Boy from Sudan to settle in Syracuse on December 4, 2000, Dut has continuously used knowledge as a tool to build opportunities for himself and those around him.
His education journey started in 2001 when he started taking classes to strengthen his basic skills in mathematics and English. After getting his GED in 2004 and his two-year associate’s degree from Onondaga Community College in 2005, Dut worked multiple jobs to support himself and relatives back in South Sudan.
In 2010, he enrolled at the Columbia College-Hancock Field campus as a part time student and eventually received his Bachelorís Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Business in 2017.
Today, Dut plans on furthering his education through a Master program at Syracuse University and building educational opportunities for women and children back in Sudan through South Sudan Initiatives.
Dut Leek Deng has been a national leader for Sudanese Americans under the auspices of the Episcopal Church. He has traveled throughout the United States over the last few years to conventions in cities such as Chicago, IL, Oklahoma City, OK, San Francisco and San Jose, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Atlanta, GA, Washington, DC, Richmond, VA and New Haven, CT to lead groups and participate in meetings for the betterment of Sudanese Americans and Sudanese citizens of the Republic of South Sudan.
He explains, you can help you and your family first, but you cannot forget about the people back home. You need to give back to them.