Feature: GBC President envisions a hunger free community in five years

 

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In front row left to right, Abraham Deng Lueth Mayom, GBC President and Atem Garang, reunion team member with some of the community leaders and members during the meeting in Edomonton on October 29, 2011. The two person delegation was hosted in Alberta by Jacob Boul Malual  Gurech, Bor Community Chairman in Calgary seen on Atem's left and by Francis Chagai Bol, Bor Community Chairman in Edmonton standing in dark suit on Deng's right. Photo: NewSudanVision.com
(Alberta, Canada, NSV) - Considered articulate, open minded and coolheaded, Abraham Deng Lueth Mayom, the President of the Greater Bor Community in the USA (GBC), envisions a community where there is no hunger, a very ambitious goal which he wants to achieve within the next five years, he revealed about a week ago while addressing audience in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Abraham Deng Lueth Mayom, GBC President speaking in Edmonton on October 29 2011
Abraham Deng Lueth Mayom, GBC President speaking in Edmonton on October 29 2011. Photo: NewSudanVision.com

One of the community elders remarked after listening to Deng that he has never seen a person with a forward looking vision from the Bor community since the death of late Dr. John Garang in 2005. He said he was happy to see the young generation taking the lead to develop the war torn society.

A member of the “seed generation,” named so by the late SPLM/A leader John Garang, usually called Jesh Al Amer or Lost Boys, Deng believes that hunger or poverty is the mother of all conflicts today among the South Sudanese communities.

“I believe that there will be peace and harmony when every family goes to sleep not worrying about what the kids will eat tomorrow,” he told the NewSudanVision.com.

Deng and his organization want to achieve this goal through three strategic pillars namely government or public sector, non-profit making sector and private profit making sector. In South Sudan, the government’s role exists in some way but the non-profit and profit making organizations sectors rarely exist. In collaboration with potential similar initiatives in Canada and Australia, the GBC-USA aims at reinforcing the role of government in the development of communities through the creation of vibrant non-profit and profit making sectors.

Community development bank

One of GBC’s first priorities is to establish a community development bank, whose start-up capital will, in part, be raised during the upcoming reunion of Bor Community members scheduled to take place during the Christmas Season in Bor Town this year. According to Deng, the bank will help them turn Bor area into one of the largest farms in South Sudan. The bank will also be a source of funding for many of the development initiatives as well as for private sector business start-ups. Furthermore, the bank will be a tool for promoting peace and harmony among various communities in Jonglei State in particular and South Sudan in general as it will extend services, like microfinance, to all communities in South Sudan regardless of their origins. Deng believes grassroots communities should use their unique diversity to contribute to development in South Sudan instead of using their differences for negative purposes.

Born into a family of five children in Abek Community in the present day Twic East County, Deng is the maternal grandson of Bior Aguer, regarded as one of the respected traditional leaders of his generation. He draws his inspiration to serve his community from this remarkable family history of community service. “My greatest inspiration is my family. My entire close and extended family network is one of a kind and I am humbled and blessed to have such a loving family lineage within a beautiful community,” he said.

Deng holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. His intention was to become a doctor; however, he realized he could make a wider positive impact in his community as a community organizer than as a doctor. So he enrolled himself in a graduate studies program from which he graduated last May with a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

A community is organized for the vulnerable

“A community is organized for the benefit of the vulnerable members of the community,” he told his audience in Edmonton. Based on a hierarchy of needs prevalent in the grassroots communities, Deng’s first priority is to ensure that every member of the community has food, clean drinking water, permanent shelter and clothing.

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A section of audience listens to speakers during the meeting in Edmonton
“A few number of good people can make the community strong,” he said. He urged the Bor Community members in Canada in particular and elsewhere in the Diaspora in general to seize the opportunity and form a united front to help develop the homeland.

 

“Being in the United States of America today, it can be a great disgrace if I don’t think of ways to give back and impact the lives of those who are left behind at home,” he told the NewSudanVision.com. “One way to give back is to [get] involved and start combating hunger and poverty, not only within [the] Bor community alone but at the Jonglei State level as well.”

In a letter to Gov. Kuol Manyang Juuk written early this year asking for support on the ground, Deng and his team revealed their plan.

“We have decided to attack poverty in different fronts, especially at the grassroots. We thought time has come for us to empower our people; however, we need much support on the ground,” they wrote. “In one of his living dreams, the late Dr. John Garang noted that he wanted to take towns to the villages. Thus, it is our challenge to fulfill his bright dream through people’s based development.”

Atem-Ajith, the legendary folk singer

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Atem -Ajith, a talented folk singer and fundraiser speaking in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on October 29, 2011! Photo: NewSudanVision.com
Along with Deng was the legendary Atem Garang, widely known as Atem-Ajith, a gifted folk singer and fundraiser, who skillfully uses the beautiful diversity of his Communities, embodied in songs and folktales, to inspire positive action. Charismatic, witty and cultured in all aspects of his society, Atem-Ajith is a sought after community fundraiser. A member of the upcoming Reunion team, Atem accompanied Deng to Alberta to help push the message of the reunion and to help raise 100,000 dollars needed to achieve the goal.

 

Impressed by the message passed by the duo and determined not to be left out of contributing to the reunion goal in December, the Bor Community members have invited Atem to come back to Alberta for fundraising in the next few weeks.

Visionaries

Agok Deng Agok, Chairperson of the SPLM Chapter in Alberta, praised Deng and Atem as visionaries who have great strategies for addressing the problems in their grassroots communities in their unique ways.

“Their program needs a support of the entire Bor Community in Canada,” he told the NewSudanVision.com. “I am looking forward to supporting it as an individual member of this community.”

Agok praised the initiative for the upcoming reunion of Bor community members as a “brilliant idea” which will give a chance to the scattered members over the globe to meet each other for the first time since the war started in 1983.

“The reunion is also a beginning of commitment as it will give us inspiration and energy to chart our way forward as a community,” he told the NewSudanVision.com. “We, in Canada, should stop wasting time and join their efforts for development.”

The GBC is a community organization formed in the USA in 2010 by Diaspora members from Bor South, Twic East and Duk counties, which, according to the 2008 5th Sudan population and Housing Census, have a total population of about 372,043 people.

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The delegates and some of their hosts in Edmonton on October 29, 2011. Photo: NewSudanVision.com

 



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