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    From Child-Soldiers To Most Distinguished Aussie Lawyer

    Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shake hands with Deng Thiak Adut a Defence Lawyer and refugee advocate in Sydney, Australia and a former child soldier from South Sudan.
    From a child that carrying an AK-47 on the war-torn streets of Sudan to NSW Australian Award of the the Year in 2017. Deng Adut's story - although unconventional - is an inspiration to most Australians as well as fellow Africans. Despite all his victories from teaching himself to speak English as an illiterate Sudanese child to the moment he spoke it fluently. His hard work really paid off subsequently thereafter he graduated as a lawyer at the University of Western Sydney. 

    While Africa is busy casting off its rare gems others are picking them up with special endowments.
    He now practices as a lawyer and heads his own law firm AC Law Group in Sydney's West. He is also featuring in a winning artwork at the Archibald Prize, Mr Adut said becoming a father was by far his 'proudest achievement.' 'I finally feel I have achieved something in life,' he told the media.

    Deng Adut (right) and Tamryn Beveridge (left) welcomed their first daughter Athieu (centre).
    Deng Adut fled Sudan for Australia at the age of 14. Mr Adut said becoming a father was his 'proudest achievement' 'Athieu is my proudest achievement; she’s given me the childhood I never had,' he said. The Sudanese born lawyer and his fiancĂ©e Tamryn Beveridge welcomed their first daughter Athieu. Ms Beveridge named their daughter after his mother Athieu - 'meaning born of struggle.' The former child soldier said: 'Before I was scared of death and now I want to live for her.' While Mr Adut is happy to be giving his daughter a childhood far from the perils he suffered on the streets of Sudan, he wants Athieu to grow up understanding how lucky she is without taking it for granted. 'I want her to not be ignorant of the hardship in South Sudan, to see the poverty and diseases, so she can appreciate what she has in Australia,' he told the media.

    Mr Adut fled Sudan with the help of the United Nations and was given a chance to turn his life around. As he was just 14-year-old landing on strange shores of Australia he wasn't able to mumble a word in English. After working the night shift at a Blacktown petrol station and admitting to watch the Wiggles in his biography Songs of a War Boy, Mr Adut was committed to educate himself. Deng Adut's story is an inspiration.

    In another separate inspirational story : A Town planner Kuol Baak also a former child soldier in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Army. Mr Baak, was just 15, but now he is 43 and living in Adelaide, Australia after fled the conflict in the country.  Kuol graduated with a Bachelor of Law, but his passion is urban planning.  “I’m really happy about that,” says Kuol of his latest achievement. He’s been working as a qualified town planner for the Port Pirie Regional Council for the last decade and says his latest degree, obtained through correspondence studies via Queensland University of Technology, gives him a legal edge in development planning.

    The father of three kids and his wife, Melanie a UniSA lecturer and running a charity called “Timpir” (‘budding tree’ in Dinka) funding health initiatives and two schools educating over 1400 children in South Sudan. “I felt a need to give back to my community because I feel as though I am very lucky and I have to do something with my blessings.” While deeply mindful of his good fortune, Kuol laments the thousands of children from South Sudan who never made it to adulthood. “A lot of my (military) colleagues died in combat or from disease, hunger,” he says. “When I compare myself to them, I think it is not fair.” Kuol was part of the “Lost Boys’’ — a group of 10,000 mostly boys aged seven to 17 who arrived in Kenya in 1992 seeking refuge from Sudan’s civil war. Kuol was 15 when he walked through the gates of Kakuma Refugee Camp after fighting and travelling by foot for three years from Sudan to Ethiopia and then to Kenya.

    Kuol Baak with his wife Melanie and children Akon, Achol and Yuew. Picture: AAP.
    It is estimated that more than half of the children making this journey died of starvation, disease while enemy soldiers witnessed death, rape and slaughter. The “Lost Boys” have been described as the most badly war-traumatised children. Despite his lost childhood, Kuol says it was in the refugee camp that he received an education and developed a passion for planning the perfect urban utopia that ultimately led him to his current profession. “I think that because I was so lucky in so many ways that I don’t miss that part of my life,” he says. “Why should I cry over a childhood and teenage years that were not ideal when in my late 20s I was able to start a new life in Australia — how lucky am I?”

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