“Lost Boy of Sudan” Finds Education Valuable in War-Torn Homeland
(MURFREESBORO) – Mabior Manyok, a 2005 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” was presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award at an April 19 ceremony in Washington, D.C., for his work with the government of southern Sudan.
Manyok received the Gold Award, the highest possible honor. He was among 16 volunteers recognized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the donation of their professional skills toward the advancement of economic growth in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Of the 16 volunteers honored, eight were acknowledged also for their work on USAID’s Agricultural Markets and Enterprise Development (AMED) Project in Sudan with the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) Service Impact Award.
Manyok, known to his friends as “Juke,” was nine years old when the civil war pitting the Islamic regime of Omar al-Bashir against the mostly Christian and tribal black African natives began in 1983. At age 12, after seeing his fellow citizens slaughtered by the militia, he signed up for the Sudanese Liberation Army, a counterinsurgent group. However, Manyok left at age 14 after realizing that obtaining an education and putting it to use for his people was the key to the future.
After fleeing to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, Manyok applied to the United Nations for refugee status, which enabled him to come to the United States in 1994. He earned his GED and attended Nashville Tech for three years, earning an associate’s degree in computer technology there and later a degree in University Studies at MTSU.
In October 2006, Manyok began helping the Government of Southern Sudan’s Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Conservation set up a computer database with equipment donated by the U.N. in the capital city of Juba. To date, he has trained more than 20 employees and mentors a four-person information technology department.
The 33-year-old Manyok was cited in the May 2007 USAID/VEGA newsletter for “using his professional Information Technology skills to upgrade the information communications technology capabilities of the country’s Ministry of the Environment.”
Manyok, a naturalized American citizen, volunteers under the auspices of the Volunteer Technical Assistance Program of Winrock International, a Little Rock, Ark.-based nonprofit organization that applies agricultural and energy innovations in assisting the world’s poor and disadvantaged.
ATTENTION, MEDIA: For color jpegs of Mabior Manyok, contact Gina Logue in the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081 or email@example.com.