On 5 August Samuel was invited by the Chancellor of Victoria University, Mr George Pappas, to address a dinner of the Chancellor’s Centenary Circle. Sam spoke to the gathering of his life as a Lost Boy of South Sudan, his dream of building a primary school in Rumbek and of the great support provided to him by Victoria University throughout his education.
“Coming to Australia, I now had to learn English properly. It is my fourth language. Dinka is my mother tongue; then Arabic; and then Swahili learnt in Kenya.
“And of course I had little formal education when I arrived. Education was the greatest gift given to me by my new country, Australia. But I had a lot of catching up to do. It was NMIT who provided the building blocks that helped me gain entrance to university. From there it was Victoria University that equipped me with the practical learning necessary to start a new life. VU provided opportunities to educate myself, which in turn led to a professional job and a better life.
“I was first attracted to VU because of its reputation for valuing cultural diversity and its commitment to excellence and innovation. I have seen that these are not just words but values exemplified by the staff in their daily work. Their help supported & motivated me, providing me with the tools I needed for my personal & professional development. VU also generously provided financial assistance through a scholarship.
“All that support helped me to achieve my dream of university qualifications and now a Masters Degree. And I am most grateful.”
Sam went on to say that the educational values absorbed during his time at VU had helped provide the inspiration for the Melbourne Rumbek Primary School project.