Life in the Villiage
Tiitchok Mareng is located in the county of Aweil East, in the state of Northern Bahr El Ghazal, in South Sudan. Currently in Tiitchok Mareng, like other villages in Aweil East, there are no secondary schools. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), South Sudan has some of the world’s worst education indicators.
- 26% of villages have functioning primary schools.
- 25% of those attending are women and girls.
- The ratio of students to teachers averages 100:1
- There is one english and math text book per every four students.
South Sudan is one of the world’s lowest ranked nations with respect to net enrollment in primary education. Young girls in South Sudan are three times more likely to die in childbirth than to reach grade 8. Trained teachers are in short supply, textbooks are scarce, and most schooling is conducted under tents or in the open air.
Meet Our Board of Directors
A Conversation with our Founder
What made you start the Deng Foundation? God blessed me with a great purpose and my purpose as a human being is always been about leaving the world better than I found it, especially part of the world where I was born, in this casewould be South Sudan. I left South Sudan to search for education and bring it home along with things that are needed most in South Sudan. These things are education, healthcare and clean water. I started the Deng Foundation because I wanted to bring education and healthcare to Southern Sudan. God wanted me to do that, I want to do that, my family wants me to do that and the world wants me to do that. I feel like the best way to fulfill my purpose as a human being is through the organization like the one I created myself, Deng Foundation. Deng Foundation will continue to fulfill my purpose beyond my existence.
What do you believe is the most pressing issue facing the people of south Sudan? There are many issues that people of South Sudan are facing every single day. Most villages in South Sudan don’t have any running or clean water, electricity, hospital, transportation, and most importantly school buildings and supplies. However, the most pressing issue in South Sudan is poverty and lack of education and education is the solution. Aid and any others humanitarian assistance can only make a difference but will not solve the problems.
Where do you see the DENG foundation in 10 years? In 10 years, I can see the Deng Foundation building Deng University and the first University in Aweil North of South Sudan. Aweil is divided into 4 regions, which are West, East, South and North. The location has been secured. Therefore, the short term goal for Deng Foundation is to build primary school and long term goal is to build a University in Aweil North of South Sudan.
Has south Sudan gotten better or worse since you have left? South Sudan has gotten better ever since the civil war ended however, infrastructures are needed most. The civil war between North and South Sudan and the massive killing has stopped which made it a lot safer and better in terms of violence but not economically, the country needs to be rebuilt.
What was your biggest inspiration for founding the Deng foundation? I was born to do this. I was born inspired by God, God gave me a gift and my gift was and always been loves. God created me to love not to be loved. He wanted me to love him, people, and the world. Before I was born, I was inspired to leave the world better than I found it. However, I can’t do it alone, I needed to get other people involved. Therefore, I started the Deng Foundation to get other people involved to help me change the world into a better place to live for everyone. I didn’t choose to create the Deng Foundation; I wasn’t inspired by anything to create the Deng Foundation. Deng Foundation is me, it is who I am and it represents me at a human level. In addition to that, I always dreamed of getting education and I finally achieved my dream. However, it is an individual success; I want to succeed as a community which I personally believed it better than an individual success.
What is your fondest memory of south Sudan? When I was a child just like any other children in South Sudan, my job was to take care of our cows and goats. I was supposed to do that just for my relative and family but I went extra mile by also helping neighbors with their cows and goats. Long story cut short, in South Sudan, boys take care of cows and goats and girls cook. Some of my neighbors didn’t have boys so I decided to help without anyone asking me to help. My fondest memory and still remember today was the smile I seen in the faces of neighbors after I brought their cows and goats home before the dark. In South Sudan, if cows and goats are not home before the dark, they are more likely to be at risk of eaten by either lion or hyena. I never felt so happier like that in my life. I love helping and doing things for people not because it is a right to do, it’s who I am. I was born like that. I don’t choose to help or love people, it’s in my soul, in my genetic, I was brought to the world to serve and love people.
You’re going to South Sudan in December, what is the purpose of this trip? The purpose of this trip is about logistic planning for school, wells, and clinic. I want to get the construction and operating budgets for school, wells, and clinic. I will be meeting with contractors to discuss the constructions and operating budgets for school, clinic, and wells. I am also planning of making little documentary film of my village and location, especially where the wells, school, and clinic will be built.
South Sudan seems to be riddled with conflict and political turmoil. What do you say to those who say South Sudan is a lost cause? I say yes South Sudan is definitely a lost cause but it can be rebuilt as a nation, it is possible to do so, I believed it can be done and that is why I work hard every day because I know what need to be done. The civil war that last for almost two decades really devastated the country which made it a lost cause. Millions of people were killed and displaced, homes and schools were destroyed. My generation is the first to attend school in South Sudan. Education is a power that gives every human being a clear direction toward a better life. South Sudan is lacking of education and this is why I want to bring education to South Sudan.
Will the current political/military climate delay the planned trajectory of the DF? No I do not believe so because Deng Foundation mission and goals are needed in South Sudan, none of the both side of political party is against it so far. Deng Foundation mission and goals are to solve those issues that are facing South Sudanese citizens every single day and the solution to those issues are to provide education, infrastructures which will help to eliminate the poverty.
How did you get where you are today? God, my attitude, determination and commitment got me to where I am today. God wanted me to change the world into a better place to live. That’s why he created me with such a warm heart that wanted nothing more than helping and loving people. I left South Sudan under one condition, change. I wanted things to change in South Sudan and for the better for people that live there. I wanted war to stop and I wanted people in South Sudan to have better lives. At that time I thought getting an education will allow me to help bring changes in South Sudan. My dream was to get education and bring it to South Sudan. The journey from South Sudan was not only long but scared. I risk my life in order to get to where I am today. I was lucky and barely made it. My attitude toward education was that I have to get it no matter what. I was so determined no matter what got on my way I was not going to give up or stop. The only way for me to do so was to have strong attitude and unstoppable commitment to my dream. I am a person who likes to put other first and I think that’s what helped me throughout my journey and got me to where I am today.
Why should someone donate to the DENG Foundation? People should donate to Deng Foundation for two reasons: one, their donation is needed most because it will save lives. Two, life was a gift from God, someone who love us so much and more than anything else in this world. The best way for us to thank him for such a special gift is to keep it alive, by passing it to one another. For instance, giving someone access to education, clean water, and opportunity to creates or do something that will save or better their lives in the future is like giving them access to new life. Anyone who donates to Deng Foundation is saving lives of other and creating a better future for people in South Sudan. Deng Foundation is a non-profit organization and donors are the stakeholders of the Deng Foundation. Giving to those who need it most is always good for the soul and Deng Foundation was created with the purpose of soul. Deng Foundation has a mission to solve the most pressing issues that people in South Sudan are facing and donors are actually who will accomplish that mission through giving.
What do students in the US take for granted? There are many things that students take for granted in the U.S. Many students in the U.S. have great opportunities and possible dreams that most children around the world can’t even dream of but they are not motivated to take advantages of those dreams and opportunities. Most students in U.S take food, clothes, school supplies, health care and entire school system for granted. Most children in South Sudan will go to school if they can have school materials, clothes, and food. Education system in U.S. is great and everyone can get education in the U.S. but some of them are taking it for granted. Transportation, healthcare, food, clothes, shelter, are available and been taken for granted in the United States. Most children around the world especially in South Sudan walk miles and miles to attend school. Most of them died from diseases that could be treated but no medical supplies. Most of them died from malnutrition because of lack of food availability. Most children in South Sudan cannot go to school because they don’t have clothes to wear and there is no food. Instead they spend most of their day hunting and chasing either rabbit, rats or other animal that they can catch in order to have a full stomach.
Can you see the DENG foundation model spreading to other regions? Of course, the Deng Foundation will be the next UNICEF, United Nations, World Vision, and so forth. The purpose and mission for the Deng Foundation is to develop and empower the next generation regarding where in the world and this purpose and mission will spread around the world as the Deng Foundation grow. This question is the reason why I defined, the DENG as Developing, Empowering, Next, Generation. I am focusing on all generation; South Sudan is just a starting point.
What does sustainability mean to you and the foundation? To me and the Deng Foundation, sustainability means long lasting commitment and ability to maintain and fulfill the mission and vision. I created the Deng Foundation because I want to solve some of the most pressing issues that human being are facing in the community of South Sudan and around the world. Deng Foundation will build school or clinic/hospital with on-going support to that school or clinic/hospital. As long as the world exists, Deng Foundation will continue to strive to develop and empower the next generation to come. Therefore, sustainability mean to me and the Deng Foundation as a non-stop commitment toward making the world a better place to live.
Help Change the Life of a Village.
The education of its youth is essential to the future of the new nation of Southern Sudan. As with any developing country, education plays a vital role in building a peaceful, prosperous future for its people.