This July, Alek Wek will make her first journey home since South Sudan gained independence last year.
The former Sudanese refugee and supermodel, has not returned to South Sudan since 2005. She and her family, fled the country where she was a teenager. Her father died during the journey and Alek, her sister and mother sought asylum in London. In London she was approached by a modeling scout and later went on to become one of the first African supermodels in the world. In 2007 she published a memoir entitled Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel in which she shared her fascinating journey from childhood to stardom.
As a daughter of this nation, Alek’s experience of coming home will be no less exhilarating than the heady emotions felt by the millions who returned before her from various countries from different parts of South Sudan. She plans to take part in the celebrations to mark the first anniversary of independence and then visit the town of Wau, capital of Western Bahr-el-Ghazal state, where she lived with her family prior to fleeing.
Alek will partner with UNHCR as she embarks on this exciting journey. It marks the formal launch of her quest is to transform her compassion into positive action, supporting her fellow South Sudanese citizens to find the strength to build the nation. One of her platforms is the power of diaspora communities. For several years, she has been active in advocacy efforts. She is armed with boundless enthusiasm that flows from a strong sense of obligation to plan an active role in mobilizing support for the aspirations of the country of her birth. Her mission will focus primarily on the returnee story and the massive efforts needed to build and stabilize the country. Alek will bring messages of peace, hope and inspiration for a young nation facing monumental challenges in its early years. She is deeply aware that people have returned to communities that have long endured hardship; communities that barely have the facilities or means to provide for even the most basic needs. Alek is particularly interested in education, health and agriculture.
Alek will also draw attention to the need for international support for the massive humanitarian emergency that continues to unfold in remote regions in the north and north-west of the country. Despite facing enormous responsibilities related to critical needs of its own people, South Sudan has generously opened its borders to 170,000 Sudanese refugees during its first year of independence.
Join Alek on her journey to South Sudan by following her on Facebook: Alek Wek’s Journey Home.
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