Daniel Majok Gai
South Sudan Director
Daniel came to the United States as a twenty-year-old refugee in 2001. At the age of six, he had escaped into the bush alone when a northern militia attacked his southern Sudanese village. He spent the next fourteen years in camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, having trekked hundreds of miles, first into Ethiopia, and then, when the “Lost Boys” were driven out of that region, to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Daniel received his high school certificate in Kakuma, where he learned under a tree, without pens or paper.
Daniel graduated from the University of Colorado at Denver with a BA in Psychology. At UCD, he won the 2010 Rosa Park Diversity Student Award and worked as a Student Advocate at the Educational Opportunity Program. He became a United States citizen in 2007. Daniel was reunited with his family as part of the PESS team in 2008, where he met with his village elders to negotiate PES’s third school site Tong Pagook Primary; assisted with the teacher training and women’s literacy programs; and provided training to the PESS Sudanese Field Coordinator.
Daniel was appointed as PESS South Sudan Director in 2011, and feels the PESS investment in his leadership ability allows him an incredible opportunity to serve his people.
“I feel great working as PESS South Sudan Director; it is empowering both me and the community. I’m extremely proud of what I’m doing and it’s benefits to the Sudanese. I realize I am a role model for those whom I work with in the villages. Many of the International NGO’s hire only European or Americans at top Director positions; not PESS.” – Daniel Major Gai
Daniel is the PESS representative to the Education Cluster Ministry of Education, Jonglei State. Daniel’s responsibilities include negotiating construction of school furniture, water wells, medicine deliveries and building stronger relationship with all four school villages. He works with community elders and holds meetings with field representatives 1-2 times per month creating a connection globally. He is currently facilitating construction of four more classrooms at Marc Nikkel Primary and laying the foundation for Tong Pagook Primary during the dry season. HIs main focus for 2012 will be the Community Leadership Development program PESS will begin to implement in January 2013.