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John Thon, Yum and Abuk Majok at the Rotary Club of Leesburg

Photos courtesy of Ron Rogos

The spellbinding story of John Thon Majok was a Rotary Club of Leesburg program that will be long-remembered.  John presented his personal story about resilience based on his experience as a former "lost boy of Sudan".

Seven year old John Thon Majok left his home, parents, and eight siblings in South Sudan to join a group of 20,000 other children escaping the horrors of the 1987 Sudanese Civil War. The group was eventually named "The Lost Boys of Sudan". They walked barefoot for over 1,000 miles from Sudan to Ethiopia and back to Sudan before settling in refugee camps in Kenya. They endured extreme hardships with scant food and resources and at times were chased by wild animals.

In 2001, John Thon was flown by the U.S. State Department to Tucson for resettlement along with 59 other "Lost Boys" who had become young men. In 2003, he was valedictorian of Pima Community College and gave the commencement address. In 2005, John Thon graduated from the University of Arizona with honors and was named Outstanding Senior in the School of Public Administration and Policy.  He interned on Capitol Hill for an Arizona Congressman. John Thon relocated to D.C. and joined the State Department. He earned a Masters Degree at George Mason University. In 2013, he became Program Associate at The Woodrow Wilson Center, where he received an excellence award. John Thon and his beautiful wife, Yom, have a lively six-year old daughter named Abuk. Yom was a refugee in the camp, also.  What an inspirational family!

 
 

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