Deng Jongkuch
One of the Lost Boys of Sudan

In 1987, at the age of 5, Deng escaped from his village in South Sudan while it was under attack by soldiers during the Sudan Civil War. He joined 30,000 other Lost Boys of Sudan and walked over 1000 miles to find safety at refugee camps, first in Ethiopia and then in Kenya. In 2001, after nearly fourteen years in refugee camps, Deng was selected for resettlement in the United States with 3,800 other boys. Deng worked hard to receive an education and graduated from California State University-San Jose with a BS in Health Science and a Masters in Public Health from Touro University. Deng is passionately committed to improving literacy in South Sudan and in 2009 worked with funds from Impact A Village to direct the building of a primary school in Malek, South Sudan.

A Lost Boy’s Journey Timeline

The longest civil war started at Bor Town a few miles away from Deng’s Village.

Sudan government troops attack many villages, including Deng’s village taking girls and killing many adult males. Deng, who is only 5, escapes in the middle of the night with a few other young boys from his village. No one in his immediate family is with him.

Deng joins 26,000 other displaced people and walks to Ethiopia in the dry season. The walk takes about a month and many people die along the way due to lack of food and water.

Deng lives in a camp with thousands of others. UN provides limited food, blankets and medicine and conditions are poor.

The Ethiopian government is overthrown by rebels. Deng’s refugee camp is attacked.

Deng joins others who are escaping the attacks and walks across the desert into Northern Kenya. The trek takes about a year and is very dangerous. Many people die of starvation, disease, violence and attacks by lions.

Deng along with 16,000 refugees arrives in Kenya. UN provides food and education. Deng attends school from 2nd grade through high school. In 1998, media focuses attention on the plight in Africa and the US government begins to take action.

After 7 interviews and a lengthy screening process, Deng is approved to come to the United States along with 3,800 other Lost Boys of Sudan. Deng, age 18 arrives in San Jose, CA with about 60 other boys. He first attends De Anza Community college to improve his English. In 2008, Deng graduated from California State University-San Jose with a major in Health Sciences and a Masters in Public Health from Touro University. He currently directs a health center in South Sudan.

A peace treaty is signed in 2005 ending the war. In the summer of 2005, Deng returns to his village and is reunited with his mother and father who do not recognize him at first. He finds his village in poor condition with no clean water, no roads and no school. Deng vows to return to his village every summer to help.

Deng collects money from his community in San Jose to purchase, deliver and assemble a grinding machine for his village. This means that the women and girls of the village do not have to spend all day grinding grain by hand. The young girls now have the time to attend school, but they must sit under trees as there is no school building.

In the summer of 2009, ImpactAVillage completed contruction of a primary school in the village of Malek, Southern Sudan.

A man holding two young children in his arms.A map of the state of south sudan with the names of each region.

Read Deng’s Story

This beautifully illustrated book chronicles Deng’s harrowing journey as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. “A Story of Hope” is an amazing story of courage and is written for ages 3rd grade and up.

A Story of Hope – The Journey of a Lost Boy of Sudan
by Deng Jongkuch and Lisa Wade
A book cover with an image of a man.
Buy Now on Amazon

Photos of the Malek School Project

A black background with the words " impavida villena ".


A note from a student to her teacher


Thank you so much for coming to our school. Your presentation was amazing, and you’re really funny! You’re very inspiring. I hope you find our donation helpful. Thank you!

Sophia, Medway Middle School
Medway, MA

A yellow note with the date of may 2 1, 2 0 1 5.


Thank you for coming to Medway and sharing your story with us. I am so thoroughly impressed by your intelligence, resilience, kind soul and dedication to giving back, We are happy to help your cause.

Best of luck!
The Flotta Family
Medway, MA

A Refugee’s Story

Kid Reporters’ Notebook writer, Manat Kaur writes about Deng and life.

Read The Story
A man and woman standing next to each other.