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Published on Oct 23, 2008
http://www.valentinoachakdeng.org Valentino Achak Deng was a victim of the civil war in Southern Sudan. During attacks by armed janjaweed raiders, he fled home in 1986, walking 800 miles to safety in Ethiopia and then Kenya. He became one of the so-called "lost boys," growing up without parents in refugee camps. In 2001, Valentino was resettled to the United States, and in 2006, his life story was told in the novel What Is the What, by Dave Eggers.
Southern Sudan is still recovering from war. Extreme damage to the infrastructure has left most of the region in poverty, and there are very few schools or educational opportunities. Valentino and Dave have established the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, a non-profit organization which, among other projects, is building the first secondary school in Valentino's hometown of Marial Bai. The school will open in April 2009, part of a 12-building educational complex including a library, a teacher-training college, a community center, and other facilities. The Foundation is still raising funds to finish this complex.
Footage by Valentino Deng, Dave Eggers, and Greg Larson. Edited by Brian McGinn.