Garang's Education Fund for Emory

OVERVIEW: The HMHS community has been advocating on behalf of Garang Buk Buk, a victim of armed conflict from South Sudan, to raise the funds necessary for his graduate education at Emory University.  Emory granted Garang with tuition scholarship, but there is still a remaining balance and cost of living. 

Since 2015, Garang has Skyped and communicated with HMHS sophomores after they read Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Without expectation, he has given us so much by sharing his story and opening a dialogue about loss and possibility.  Garang has defied the odds. He was conscripted into the SPLA as a boy but managed to leave that behind and was able to find opportunities to pursue his primary and secondary level education. Garang worked with The Carter Center, supporting the South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program. During his time with the Carter Center, he was able to save enough money to pay for his undergraduate tuition in Nairobi. He has now been accepted to Emory University for a Master's in Development Practice with the ultimate goal of returning to South Sudan to better his community. His tuition scholarship will not cover the finances to fulfill the two year tuition requirement and cost of living. The HMHS community is working tirelessly to give back to someone who has given us so much. Please help us get Garang to Emory University and meet the various tuition deadlines in the upcoming 2 years.

Featured in the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER! Please read this article online for the most comprehensive coverage of our advocacy campaign: “He was a former child soldier. Now he’s hoping to earn a master’s degree from Emory, and some Haddonfield students are here to help.” 

Please contact Kimberly Dickstein, HMHS teacher, through the GoFundMe platform if you have any questions regarding our fundraising efforts. To learn more about the humanitarian effort behind this campaign, read this feature from the Haddonfield Sun. 

To learn more about GARANG'S JOURNEY to Emory, please read this article from the Emory Wheel "Graduate Student Braves Violence, Poverty to Attend Emory." 

Read excerpts from Garang Buk Buk's statement of purpose for Emory University's, Master’s in Development Practices:

"I join studies. It was not an easy journey too. Many ups and down but with determination, I finished primary and subsequently secondary school. After completion of secondary education, I wanted to proceed to college but there were no available opportunities. I decided to look for a place where I can offer my services and equally build my capacity. My secondary completion was at the time when Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 with Khartoum government. 

Immediately after the completion I joint Catholic Diocese of Torit (C-DOT) and worked at different capacities and a year later I moved to The Carter Center (TCC)–South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program (SSGWEP) where I worked with different communities across South Sudan. My work with TCC-SSGWEP exposed me to closely worked with communities at household level to help them impact skills and knowledge necessary for understanding Guinea worm transmission and its prevention measures.

In 2012, I decided to go back to school to have better understanding of this tragedy. Initially I wanted to do electrical engineering but with the poverty trap my community find itself in, I decided to do development studies so that I can have a better understanding and forge a way of helping them to help themselves. Since then, I have been thinking about better strategies that can improve the well-being of communities. Improving sustainable livelihood of communities will create better opportunities to young South Sudanese. My quest is to create a better tomorrow."


"After earning my undergraduate degree in Sustainable Human Development, I joint the race against poverty. I have been working in developmental activities such as food security and integrated Peacebuilding projects. While relief agencies are doing their best to alleviate the suffering, it is critical that communities are still sliding deeper into the wall of deprivation. They are entangled in cycle where endogenous process where individual and group capacity building perspective are critical in charting the way out. 

Empowerment and participation are critical in propelling development among communities of South Sudan, I envisioned to empower poor by strengthening their capacities to chart their development through educational and skill-building programs. This will enhance the self-reliance and copying capacities of vulnerable households thus lead to diversification of socio-economic of households. With the current situation in South Sudan, such an attempt can lead to improved community security and social cohesion among communities."


"After my graduation, I will move back to South Sudan to help in nation building. The skills and knowledge obtained from University will be critical in helping communities to chart that path to development. I will be an important asset to the country given the current state of affair. If you accept me to join the program, you will be contributing to capacity development of South Sudan. I want to be a development catalyst."

NB.2. Original disclaimer below was void as of 1 August 2018 given that Garang was granted a student visa and able to attend the master's program at Laney Graduate School.

NB.1.  Dickstein met Garang through a mutual friend, David Stobbelaar. She was teaching "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah, and Stobbelaar suggested that Garang could speak with her class. The two worked together with The Carter Center, supporting the South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program. During Garang's time with the Carter Center, he was able to save enough money to pay for his undergraduate tuition in Nairobi. Garang's next goal is to complete his graduate degree. Money will be withdrawn into a bank account for Garang set up by Stobbelaar through Wells Fargo.  He will be able to withdraw from this personal bank account to pay for graduate education. Disclaimer: Capital gains income tax could be taken on money raised. We will notify users if we would need to deduct capital gains from the final amount. All are in communication with Emory University's Laney Graduate program, and Garang is currently enrolled in the program.   If for some reason Garang cannot attend Laney Graduate School after his one-year deferral, all money collected on his behalf will go to The Carter Center to continue funding projects that empower individuals like Garang.
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Fundraising team: Haddonfield (8)

Kimberly A. Dickstein
Haddonfield, NJ
David Stobbelaar
Kathleen Lee
Team member
mo jishi
Team member
Natalie Naticchia
Team member
Stephen Crabbe
Team member
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