Meet Elkanah Dut Deng, a remarkable testament to the power of resilience and hope. His journey is an inspiring story of transformation, made possible through the incredible work of our partners in South Sudan.
Elkanah shared his story:
“My name is Elkanah Dut Deng. My father was a soldier; he was killed on the front line and left… for the birds to eat. My mother and I ran into a thick forest hiding in the bush, but [the opposing army] burnt the forest because it was summer and the grass was dry. We came out, and they captured us while my mother was suffering from [a disease]. She was unable to walk steadily, and [the opposing army] killed her and took me away with them. I was nine years old when I was kidnapped. I spent two years and some months with them and escaped. I met with an old woman who knew my parents. She explained to me how to escape ourselves. She took me at night and brought me back to South Sudan. She took care of me as her son.”
After enduring unimaginable hardships, Dut Deng stumbled upon a beacon of hope. While foraging for food in the forest, he encountered our partner James Lual Atak from New Life Ministry (NLM), teaching under the trees.
Dut Deng’s life took a transformative turn. Before his grandmother, who had been his primary caregiver, passed away from Tuberculosis, she entrusted him to the care of James and NLM. Education was a new concept to him, but he received his first pencil and book, realizing that his life was about to change.
Expressing his gratitude, he remarked,
“Thank you very much for all these things you’ve done in our lives.”
With the support of protection, education, and economic opportunities, Dut Deng discovered his true potential. After graduating high school in 2016, LUV awarded him a scholarship to pursue Human Resource Management at the Catholic University in Juba.
In 2022, he proudly earned his degree and returned to his roots, becoming a teacher at New Life Ministry. He now imparts wisdom on English literature, grammar, and citizenship to the next generation of changemakers. Beyond academia, Dut Deng’s poetry was showcased during the 20th Celebration ceremony. [Read the full poem here]
Today, Dut Deng is a model of transformation, embodying change and hope. He is a testament to the incredible work of our partners in South Sudan.
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