Jacob Deng is a remarkable individual who has overcome more hardships than many could imagine.  And from these experiences he is filled with compassion and respect for all humans, and persistence in providing education to those in similar situations, to better the world.

He created Wadeng Wings of Hope, a charitable organization to better the lives of those in South Sudan. His work has garnered national press, and he has had the opportunity to meet with fellow humanitarian George Clooney, also doing work in South Sudan.  


Jacob is one of the remaining Lost Boys of Sudan. He told us of his incredible journey, walking for months through deserts of burning hot sand, from Sudan to Ethiopia and then onto Kenya over multiple years.  During this journey Jacob made the bold decision to leave a refugee camp in Kenya, return to Sudan in search of a way to obtain the finances for a better education. Jacob traded his bag of clothing for tobacco, tobacco for goats, and the sale of the goats enabled him to enter boarding school.

UNICEF, Governmental Organizations and UN officials helped Jacob continue his studies at the boarding school and Jacob starting working as a translator at age 11 for medical personnel.

He later met a Canadian Diplomat who aided in his application as a refugee to Canada.

It is hard to understand how Jacob continued on this difficult journey at such a young age. He spoke of his mother being a major influence and inspiration to continue on and have hope and confidence for the future. She had taught him to always believe that tomorrow would be better and to never lose that dream. He explained that it became clear while on his journey that during the dry season the trees would appear near death, but the rainy season would arrive and the trees would be full of lush green foliage again ~ things would get better.  

Jacob moved to Halifax, completed his commerce degree at Saint Mary’s University and created the Wadeng Wings of Hope charitable organization, dedicating his life to improving the lives of others.  

Jacob strongly believes in education to provide the platform and independence for a peaceful society. People without education are in the position to be exploited, which is all too often what happens. The old proverb “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.” describes Jacobs perspective on education, that providing the people of South Sudan proper education will create an opportunity for which they cannot create for themselves.

Since December 15, 2013, when the hostilities broke out, Jonglei State (where Wadeng school is located) has been cut off from medical supplies and food. The people there are in extreme state of vulnerability. Because of this, Wadeng’s focus is temporarily shifting to critical care assistance. Wadeng wishes to make donors aware that contributions made from this point forward (until security is reestablished) will go to aiding with critical care assistance. This will bring some relief and hope to those suffering. When security is reestablished Wadeng will open the school and continue to focus on bringing education skills to the youth and the community of Jonglei state.

As our fellow member, Erin, stated our feelings so perfectly, I will share her words with you: “What an amazing start to the weekend: Thank-you Jacob Deng for your humbling talk today. We are all a little brighter, and a little better, for having seen through your eyes, even for just a minute.”

If you are interested in learning more about Jacob and the Wadeng Wings of Hope Organization please see the below links:

To watch the ‘Lost Boy story Jacob Deng - Wadeng Wings of Hope’:

Part 1:


Part 2:


To watch Saint Mary’s One World Alumni Dinner keynote talk:



If you are interested in making a financial donation please see the following link:


‘A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk’ - an engaging novel of endurance and hope inspired by the life of Jacob Deng, written by Jan Coates. With every online purchase of this book, 40% of the proceeds are donated to Wadeng Wings of Hope.


Current situations in South Sudan: