Abraham Kur Achiek is a child protection officer with UNICEF South Sudan and a current student in the International Development Program at Andrews University. At the early age of 12, Abraham was thrust into the object of what would be his later passion and greatest concern. In 1987, following the devastation of his hometown by Civil War, Abraham was separated from his family by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Placed in a refugee camp in Funyido, Ethiopia, Abraham received a primary education and military training to become a child soldier.
At the age of 16, Achiek experienced the collapse of the Ethiopian Regime and, as a result, the move of his refugee camp back to Sudan where it joined the SPLA. Following his involvement in warfare for three years, Abraham escaped and made his way to a refugee camp in Kenya. During his stay at this camp, he became a youth leader. Abraham oversaw all the youth from nine different nationalities until a sponsorship by the Africa Refugee Education Program enabled him to study in Nairobi.
Separated from his family since 1987, Abraham traveled to South Sudan, in 2004, in an attempt to reunite with his family. Tragically, he discovered his parents had been killed; however, he did find his little brother and two sisters.
Abraham was first led to the Andrews University International Development Program off-campus Master's program through his involvement in child protection activities. With the aim of protecting children from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, Abraham felt the program Andrews offered would expand his influence, increase his achievements and give shape to his ideas concerning the livelihood of children.
Since 2007, Abraham's role with UNICEF allows him to work on the demobilization, disarmament and the reintegration of children who have been associated with armed groups. "By achieving my educational goals through Andrews, I will contribute to the improvement of the systems in my home country by imparting knowledge and skills," observes Abraham. He continues to do just that by providing justice, support and education to the many children in need in the country of South Sudan.
Bonnie Greene is a student news writer in the Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication at Andrews University.