West Virginia University at Parkersburg
300 Campus Drive Parkersburg WV 26104
Phone: 304-424-8203 | Fax: 304-424-8315
Nov. 3, 2009
Author of "The Journey of the Lost Boys" to tell their story in free presentation Nov. 16, 2009.
CONTACT: Debbie Richards, special assistant to the President for policy and social justice, 304-424-8201.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The remarkable story of "The Lost Boys of Sudan" will be chronicled in a free presentation Nov. 16 at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
Joan Hecht, author of the award-winning "The Journey of the Lost Boys," will tell their story along with one of the "Lost Boys," Atem Da'Hajhock, in a presentation at 11 a.m. in the college theatre.
The program is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.
"The Lost Boys of Sudan" were separated from their families during a long-running civil war. An estimated 20,000 boys fled villages to avoid being killed by government forces or forced into rebel armies. In groups, they walked over a 1000 miles across parched plains to the safety of camps in Ethiopia. After 14 more months of hardship and wandering, the surviving 10,000 boys arrived at the United Nations-run refugee camp in Kenya.
Starting in 2000, some 3,800 of them were granted refugee status in the United States and accepted for resettlement. They were spread among towns and cities across the country, where local groups of volunteers helped them settle into a new life unimaginably different from what they had known.
Ms. Hecht first met the Lost Boys in 2001. One hundred and fifty were resettled in Jacksonville. At that time, most had never used electricity or running water and needed instruction in the most basic tasks of everyday life, such as how to cross the street at a red light and how to eat with a fork and knife.
Ms. Hecht noticed an overwhelming desire within them to receive an education. In 2004, she established Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan to assist in that goal. To date, the Alliance has assisted over 55 Lost Boys and Sudanese refugees with college tuition and books, as well as needed medical treatments and surgeries. The Alliance also supports numerous humanitarian projects in South Sudan, such as the construction of clinics, schools, housing for children in orphanages, etc.
Ms. Hecht is founder and president of “Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan,” based in Jacksonville, and Chair of Education for The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan: The National Network, based in Washington, DC. Ms. Hecht will be accompanied by Atem Da'Hajhock, one of the "Lost Boys."
Due to her personal relationship with the Lost Boys, Ms. Hecht is able to tell their story in a unique and compelling manner that leaves no heart untouched. It is an amazing story of survival, diversity, love and the determination of one individual to make a difference.
Atem was approximately 6 years old when he became separated from his family following an attack on his village by Sudanese militia. In 2001, Atem was among 3,800 Lost Boys selected for resettlement in the United States. He currently lives in Jacksonville, Fl where he received his associate degree in political science from Edward Waters College in 2007 with plans of earning a bachelor's degree. Following graduation, Atem hopes to enroll in law school and become a lawyer. He regularly accompanies Ms. Hecht on speaking engagements across the US.The presentation is co-sponsored by the college's Social Justice Committee and the Internationalization Committee in observance of International Education Week, Nov. 16-20.
This project is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
For additional information, contact:
Home | Faculty/Staff Directory | Office Directory | Contacts | Course Schedules | E-Mail | Search | Web Site Index | WVU