Deng, 50, grew up with his family in Barmayen village, South Sudan.
“I never attended school. Every day I would take the goats out to the bush with the other boys for grazing,” he said.
When Deng was six, he became very ill and with no medical facilities available, fell into a coma. After regaining consciousness, he awoke to find his right side partially paralysed. Not letting this deter him, he happily returned to the peaceful life he knew and loved.
In 1983 when civil war broke out and everything changed. Frightened and taken by surprise, Deng, his family and other villagers fled for the bush, leaving their homes, crops and livestock behind.
“We were unable to be in our village, life was unbearable and all the time we kept hiding from the militia in the bush … We were always on the move.”
Over the course of time, Deng and his wife, Aketch, 38, had eight children, but three passed away. Later on, Deng’s eyes became infected. As the head of the household, he was responsible for providing for his family. Losing his eyesight meant he could not do this anymore.
In 2005, the civil war ended and they were able to move back home. To assist with resettling, Caritas Australia’s partner, Hope Agency for Relief and Development (HARD) established a food security and rehabilitation program.
Deng and Aketch received two goats, five chickens, fishing nets and a selection of seeds to plant. They are now confident of a more secure future and are happy their children can attend school.
“Thank you very much and God bless you abundantly.”
Your donation to Project Compassion helps Caritas Australia pursue justice and assist those who are the most vulnerable to extreme poverty and injustice.