Founder and President of Student Orphan Aid Program (SOAP) Dut Bior evaded the devastating violence of civil war, forcing him to seek refuge far from his country of Sudan.
As a “Lost Boy of Sudan” Dut reflects on his harrowing experiences, “As a young boy I was displaced from my mother country by war. I fled with many others my own age, seeking safety 600 miles to Ethiopia. We had no food, no water. We began our journey with 12,000 of us, upon arrival in Ethiopia; there was 3,000 of us left.
Unfortunately, Ethiopia only held momentary shelter for the remaining troupe. Trekking across equally dangerous paths, Kenya and the Kakuma Refugee Camp proved to be Dut’s home for the next 12 years. Safety and security had its price. Dut shares his feelings of life at the Refugee camp as “Living life like living in a box. There were no opportunities. There was no hope.”
The U.N. built a school and with it opportunities sprung forth. Dut gained a hunger for learning and took advantage of every class available. Dut was allowed emigrate to the United States through a program established by the United States Government and the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and he has resided in Salt Lake City, Utah since 2006.
Dut continued his endeavors in education and in June 2009 Dut attended the Lost Boys Reunion Conference in San Diego, California. During this conference the question was posed, “What are you doing to give back?” a question influencing Dut to do just that.
Empowering orphans with education was a tangible concept Dut felt feasible. “A degree can change the future. It will provide a means to live. Orphans in in impoverished countries will learn the skills to provide for themselves, for their families and will uplift their communities.“
Student Orphan Aid Program was officially founded on September 1st, 2010. SOAP members hope to reach those who will be able to make a change in their community if given the chance.