Sudanese Immigrant named the New South Wales Australian of the year

Deng Adut never dreamed he would have a positive future, let alone be named the New South Wales (NSW) Australian of the year.

Kidnapped as a child and forced into military service, Adutโ€™s first tour duty was at age 9 when he was expected to kill or be killed. He fought in some battles and eventually escaped to Kenya with the help of his half-brother John. He later made his way to Sydney at age 14 via a UN refugee camp in Kenya. There, he taught himself to read, put himself through university, and today he owns a law firm in Western Sydney.

While he uses his law degree to help others during the day, at night, the nightmaresย of his past still haunt him. โ€œHe crashed on the couch recently at my place,โ€ says Joe Correy, Adutโ€™s partner in the AC Law Group, which they co-founded in 2014. โ€œI woke up to a sound I thought was a woman, but it was him screaming.โ€

Deng Adut reaction to the Australian of the year award

The 33-year-old refugee and criminal lawyer shed tears as he received the top honor from the NSW premier, Mike Baird, at a ceremony in Sydney. He said he was beyond surprised.

โ€œI donโ€™t think I deserve to be in the spotlight because there are people here, like me, that came from South Sudan and have done well in Australia. But they chose me for a reason. For my involvement in the community and for my cause; a cause for education, a cause to make a change,โ€ Adut told The Huffington Post Australia in October.

The award tops off a massive year for Adut whose memoire,ย Songs of a War Boy,ย hit stands a few weeks ago and whose portrait won the Archibald Peopleโ€™s Choice Award.

deng-adut-2

โ€œI never dreamed of anything,โ€ he said. โ€œEven [being] a fisherman.โ€ Photo credit theguardian

ย 

Responses

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

febmar07cover