The Pathfinder: Building futures together

21 April 2024

Pathfinder: Building futures together

Meet Mary Nyaluak Lam, a 25 years old South Sudanese. She came as a young kid with her family to Kenya, were she enrolled and completed her education up to university, thanks to the support of JRS Kenya.

Now, as a consequence of finishing her studies and due to the relative peace in her home country, she is back in Juba, South Sudan.

1. When did you and your family fly to Kenya? For which reason? 

We first came to Kenya because of gaining education since our country was in civil war since 2005. After which we became refugees later due to the 2013 war which interrupted our lives. 

2. Can you share a bit about how was your life as a refugee in Nairobi? 

Living as a refugee especially in Nairobi is difficult. To some extent, we had to go hungry for some days since we didn’t have anyone to depend on financially. Life became so hard that I remember not going to school for two semesters simply because of the lack of fees. 


3. How did you benefit from JRS Kenya (which program where you enrolled in)?

I was rolled in the GEM SNHU program which I was the first graduate from the first cohort that was recruited by the program.




4. How important was it for you? How did it impact your life? 

The SNHU_GEM program is a life-changer. For me, the program gave me an opportunity of earning a tertiary education which after high school I was hopeless and considering marriage. Now I am glad to say that I am more competitive in the job market based on the skills that I acquired from the program which is a huge impact not only on me but the skillset that I bring to my workplace. 

5. You are now back in South Sudan. Why now? What triggered your decision to return? 

I haven’t been back home since 2005 clashes, so visiting my parents and family was one of my key objectives to why I came back. Also, there is a bit of peace that is being seen within the country which enable women to come look for work here although the high level of insecurity is still available. 

6. How is your life now in Juba? 

Juba is a wonderful place. Being reunited with my family and exploring opportunities in my area has always been a nice thing to do. Although there is still a high level of crimes here and lots of diseases which one must endure. 

7. How did the SNHU program impact your quality of life now in Juba? 

The degree program has equipped me to be a good thinker and a type of individual that must-see every aspect of life positively. I never knew about giving feedback to people which is one of the key areas that I am currently good at. Also, with the skillets of entrepreneurship I learned from the program I am now able to use my skills and teach others what I have learned.


8. What is your current work about? 

For the last five months, I have been doing different internships with different organizations, Although I just landed on the promotion of becoming a Material Manager within one of the leading oil and gas companies operating here in South Sudan which is a huge task for a new graduate without years of experience in that field. 

9. Share a message with the JRS team. 

I would like to thank the JRS team for showing me extraordinary support. I would also urge them to keep supporting refugees in their area of operation. 

10. Share a message to the community. 

I would like the refugees’ communities that they should keep encouraging their girls to go to school since there are huge opportunities for all.


You can make possible that other girls and boys as Nyaluak can also complete their studies with Southern New Hampshire University. 

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