Verona Gajang

Student, Benedict College, Columbia, SC (USA)

South Sudan

Verona’s family fled to Ethiopia from the 22-year second Sudanese civil war while her mother was in the middle of birthing her fifth child. They walked for months in search of an environment without bullets or helicopters. Her father, a soldier, was separated from them, but made his way to Ethiopia in 1994.

Her mother spent her entire life caring for her six children and she understood the power of education, saying, “I cannot be blind and also have blind children.” After the war, Verona’s father, once a school director and teacher, held numerous political leadership positions that have influenced many people, including Verona. As a child, she dreamed of being the first female president of South Sudan, and still does. This is a purpose involving a love of humanity and a solid advocacy for education, peace and community development. Verona’s family supports everything she does, and strongly believes in her dream of making a change, not only in South Sudan but the world at large.

Verona is currently a sophomore, majoring in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting at Benedict College, Columbia, SC (USA). She is also the president of the International Students’ Association at Benedict College for 2016-2017.