Nyuol Tong

Founder and Director, SELFSudan

Nyuol Tong

Nyuol Tong is a former refugee from South Sudan. He spent his childhood surrounded by chaos and horror. At age five, he survived being shot at by government militiamen as his family watched from under a mango tree. During the war that ended in 2005, government-armed fighters raided villages, burned fields, stole cattle, and kidnapped children to be enslaved in the North. In 1996, Nyuol's family fled to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. They lived on the streets and in huts for six years, refugees in their own country.

In 2003, Nyuol's family fled to Cairo. There, a professor at the American University in Cairo, connected him with Dunn School, a boarding school outside Santa Barbara, CA. At Dunn, Nyuol founded the nonprofit SELFSudan, which creates educational opportunities in his village. In South Sudan, just 2 percent of boys and fewer than 1 percent of girls complete primary school; just 7 percent of teachers there have formal training. SELFSudan is building a school, the Malualdit Ayeit Liberty Academy, scheduled to open in August.

Now a sophomore at Duke University, Nyuol shares his story of with communities, churches, schools, and universities throughout the United States. His journey has shaped his belief that education is the only way to liberate South Sudan from its legacy of war.

Blog Posts by Nyuol Tong

I Escaped Death in South Sudan: A Happy Ending to My Horror Story
July 9, 2012, marks the first anniversary of South Sudan’s independence. And, as expected, political analysts and experts are pointing out the challenges still plaguing the new nation. According to the International Monetary Fund, 47 percent of South Sudanese are undernourished.
July 20, 2012

Bed Nets – The “Magically” Simple Way to Stop Malaria
Malaria pervades every community in my homeland, South Sudan. I was in my village, Ayiet, last summer and brought three months’ worth of anti-malarial pills from the United States for my own protection. One morning, my six-year-old brother, Matiok, woke up with a high fever.
April 23, 2012