VIDEO CHATS: On Monday, South Sudan native Deborah Deng and managing editor Patrick Lalley will take questions at 3 p.m.
GATHERING: Argus Leader Media is hosting a community discussion on the series at Kresge Auditorium on the Augustana College campus. Join us in person or watch live online to participate at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
WEBSITE: Explore the South Dakota to South Sudan website, including maps, photos and video from Sudan and Sioux Falls. Watch photographer Emily Spartz’s multi-media introduction of three Sudanese women.

South Sudan Poverty

100 Sudanese pounds
Average consumption per person per month in South Sudan, or $22.62 in U.S. dollars.
39 Sudanese pounds
Average consumption of the poor per person per month, compared to 163 Sudanese pounds per person per month for the nonpoor.
51 percent
Population that lives below the poverty line.
53 percent
Amount of working population in South Sudan that are unpaid family workers.
12 percent
Amount of working population that is paid.
Number of formal businesses in the 10 state capitals of South Sudan. 84 percent of those are shops or restaurants.
Source: 2010 South Sudan Business Survey Listing and National Baseline Household Survey

If you want to help

Numerous efforts are originating in southeastern South Dakota to help South Sudan. Here’s how to help:
Khor Wakow School Project: Sioux Falls probation officer David Jal is working with a 501(c)3 nonprofit board to build a school and improve lives in the Khor Wakow River region where he was born and grew up in eastern South Sudan. Donations can be made out to the Khor Wakow School Project and mailed to Khor Wakow School Project, Box 295, Sioux Falls, SD, 57101-0295.
As part of fundraising efforts, the group has produced a children’s book called “David’s Story – Lost Boy of Sudan.” The group also has created a traveling wall that organizations can host, allowing people to buy bricks of $25, $50 and $100 to build the wall. The donor’s name is placed on the brick, and when the actual school is built, all donor names will be engraved on a plaque in the school. For additional information on the book or traveling wall, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to www.khorwakowschool
Rebuilding South Sudan Through Education: Former Lost Boy Moses Joknhial II of Sioux Falls is working with the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota to dig wells and build a school, medical clinic and women’s center in his native community of Panyang, South Sudan. Tax-deductible donations can be made by check payable to the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota, designated for South Sudan Education. Mail them to 500 S. Main Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104. For more information on the project, go to http://
Mary’s Project – Mission HOPE South Sudan: The project, initiated by former Lost Boy Atem Juowei in collaboration with the Catholic publishing venture Mary’s Project in Sioux Falls, is building a library education center in Juowei’s home village of Paliau in the Ajuong Community of South Sudan. Donations by check should be made payable to Mary’s Project and designated for Mission HOPE South Sudan – Framers of Freedom. They can be mailed to Mary’s Project – Mission HOPE South Sudan, Box 708, Sioux Falls, SD 57101-0708. The effort also is seeking new and used books, school supplies, backpacks, laptop and desktop computers, Kindles and educational DVDs. Those items can be dropped off at the mission office: 1412 W. 12th St., Sioux Falls, SD. To call ahead or for further information, contact 605-251-2110. For online information, go to
South Sudan Project: Hillcrest Church in Sioux Falls is working on several projects in the village of Kalalayi in Western Equatoria State in South Sudan. It wants to send two influential farmers from the village to a training school in Kenya. It also wants to send a villager for training as a doctor, and another for training as a pastor. Donations by check should be made payable to Hillcrest Church, with South Sudan Project written in the memo line, and mailed to 4301 E. 26th St., Sioux Falls, SD 57103.
Nasir Church Building Fund: Prairie Hills Covenant Church is working with South Sudanese church members to build a concrete church in Nasir, South Sudan. The group is looking for assistance in purchasing building materials in South Sudan. Donations by check should be made out to Prairie Hills Covenant Church, designated for Nasir Church building. Checks or cash can be sent to Prairie Hills Covenant Church, 2500 Powder House Road, Sioux Falls, SD 57110.


Stories in the South Dakota to Sudan series will be published through Oct. 21. The project is broken into seven main chapters that will run each Sunday and Wednesday. Also, reporter Steve Young’s journey will be detailed in 10 installments each Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. Here is the schedule of stories:
• Sunday, Sept. 30
Chapter 1 – Giving back
Journey 1 – Traveling with David Jal
• Wednesday, Oct. 3
Chapter 2 – A child’s story
Journey 2 – Poverty of Addis Ababa
• Thursday, Oct. 4
Journey 3 – The patriarch returns
• Sunday, Oct. 7
Chapter 3 – A world of need
Journey 4 – New reality
• Wednesday, Oct. 10
Chapter 4 – Social struggle
Journey 5 – The waiting wall
• Thursday, Oct. 11
Journey 6 – Back home in Dunyal
• Today
Chapter 5 – A cultural change
Journey 7 – The Khor Wakow River
• Wednesday
Chapter 6 – The cost of doing good
Journey 8 – The power of water
• Thursday
Journey 9 – Threat of harm
• Sunday, Oct. 21
Chapter 7 – Measuring success
Journey 10 – What’s left unsaid

About this report

The roots of this project started as the South Sudanese people moved toward a vote for independence in early 2011. Reporter Steve Young interviewed several South Sudanese now living in Sioux Falls who talked about the desire to return to their homeland to build schools and clinics or start businesses to help the people.
That led to a conversation with David Jal, a Minnehaha County probation officer and former Lost Boy, who was working on just such a goal. With the successful vote to split Sudan into two countries, Young floated the idea to editors at the Argus Leader of traveling with Jal to tell the story of the communal effort under way, between South Dakotans and South Sudanese refugees, to rebuild the country.
Ongoing clashes between the north and south Sudanese armies, intermittent militia violence and a general uneasiness with the situation threatened to derail the project throughout last year. Young continued, though, interviewing South Sudanese living in the U.S., talking with officials with churches and relief agencies involved in the country and checking in with the U.S. State Department to assess the situation.
He also endured a series of inoculations to prepare for travel in Ethiopia and Sudan, where basic services often are nonexistent and afflictions such as malaria and dysentery easily can end a journey.
Young is a Huron native and 1979 graduate of South Dakota State University. He started reporting for the Argus Leader in 1981. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 605-331-2306.


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