Michael Moves to South Sudan
As of this weekend, Michael Kuany has relocated back to his home country in South Sudan. While we are so sad to see him go, we are grateful for the opportunities which await him, our organization, and his country because of his physical presence on South Sudanese soil.
When Michael first moved to the US in 2001, he stayed with a community in Wisconsin. “In South Sudan, people are one big family. In the US, it’s a little bit different,” and it took him awhile to make connections. Though the communities are not necessarily structured the same as the ones back home in Sudan, he found people who shared the same basic beliefs of working together for the greater good. Making deep connections in Wisconsin and also with the Rebuild South Sudan team, Michael says he has found another family who will always represent his second home in the US.
While living in America, Michael has fulfilled his dream of getting an education (his GED, Bachelors in International Studies and Political Science, as well as a Masters in International Development and Restorative Justice) and in doing so he says that he will be able to take the knowledge he has learned and be able to share it with his nation.
Michael has loved living in a country where anything is possible. His seemingly impossible idea of building a school in South Sudan was inspiring to many and supported by all. “I don’t think I met anyone who actually questioned why or how I was going to build the school. I didn’t have the money, it was simply an idea, but people responded positively by saying ‘yes, I want to help you.’”
As Michael travels back to South Sudan to make it his permanent home since the first time he left in the 1990s, he is also temporarily being separated from his family. His wife, Deborah, and baby daughter, Ayak, are currently living in Australia with family while Deborah gets a Masters degree in Business. The main thing to sustain them through this time apart is their shared goal of education and a hope to extend their knowledge to help rebuild the nation of South Sudan. Once Deborah is finished with school she plans to move to South Sudan with Ayak and unite as a family.
Michael is returning to South Sudan because he can be an effective agent of change for his country. He is also moving to help further our school and peace building efforts through Rebuild South Sudan. Michael plans to live in Juba and travel back and forth to Bor and Jalle to help with the project. “Coordination has been difficult to do from a far and we’ve had ups and downs in coordination from a long distance. I think my presence on the ground will help us to move things quicker. I will still have challenges… we will always have challenges. But I think my presence on site will be very helpful for logistics, communication with the community, where to find the building materials, and logistics.” Michael’s life long mission is to teach people that only through education people are given an opportunity to change their country’s future. With education, people can learn to support themselves and the future generations. “I am building this school for those children who had no hope … I see this school as an opportunity for that hope to be restored.”
We are honored for his continued leadership for our team and cannot wait to share with you more about how our shared future will grow.