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'Lost Boy' of Sudan Sheds Light on Life During African Civil War

March 27 event at UAlbany’s Campus Center supports Third World Impact’s Uganda School Project

Gabriel Wal fled across the Sahara Desert alone at 14 while war ravaged his home country of Sudan.

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 26, 2012) -- During the Second Sudanese War, 12-year-old, Gabriel Wal fled across the Sahara Desert alone to escape the perils of Sudan and save his life. Subsequently, Wal spent an additional 14 years in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, where people died daily from disease. At last, he escaped through the UNICEF's "Lost Boys of Sudan" program, which allowed nearly 4,000 refugees to resettle in the U.S. Wal will share the harrowing tales of how he avoided a life of persecution on Tuesday, March 27 at 8 p.m. in the University at Albany Campus Center.

The talk, which is $5 and open to the public, is being coordinated by UAlbany's Muslim Student Association, Third World Impact and The Giving Circle of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

With heightened awareness of the strife in Africa, in light of KONY 2012, organizers believe it is an appropriate time for Wal to tell his story, which is similar what Ugandans are experiencing today.

"People will be inspired by his life and the man he is today,” said Mark Bertrand, founder of The Giving Circle. "He took the gift of others' love, help and education, and used it to become who he is."

Today, Wal helps refugees from different countries adjust to a new culture in the U.S. through his work with Catholic Charities in Texas. He also attends Texas Wesleyan University as a double major in business administration and business management.

"I want people to understand what it's like living in a third world country, where the majority of the people spend one dollar for lunch or dinner. This is all about practical life experiences; I lived this life and grew up in this environment," said Wal, who has not returned to Sudan since he fled in 1987.

Proceeds from the event will benefit for the Uganda School Project, a collaborative effort between Third World Impact and The Giving Circle to build a primary school for more than 500 children. Last year, the groups partnered to win $25,000 through the Newman's Own Foundation which supported the school project.

Previously, Third World Impact worked with The Giving Circle to raise money to build an orphanage in Uganda called the Koi Koi house, which houses 30 HIV-positive orphans.

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The University at Albany Puts the World Within Reach

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