Looking for a speaker for a program?
Bol Aweng, co-founder of the Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan and a Lost Boy of South Sudan, is available to present programs to schools (all grade levels), church groups, community organizations, or service clubs. Programs are tailored to each group and can include a video, a power-point presentation, or a display.
Each speaking presentation is unique, and Bol will work with schools/organizations to tailor his
presentation to their specific needs. Bol has also worked with art teachers to share his
techniques and the use of his art in telling his story.
About Bol Aweng
I was born in Piol Village, Jonglei State, in Southern Sudan. In 1987, I was forced to flee my homeland at the age of six without parents as helicopter gunfire and aerial bombs ripped apart my village along the White Nile River. I took refuge in Ethiopia and Kenya before making the US my new home in 2001. I started schooling from under the tree in refugee camps to learn English, arithmetic, science, and Kiswahili. I developed art skills on my own from memory and imagination using dirt, walls, and cardboard as my surfaces. I used charcoal, chalk, and colored pencil plus other pigment dirt due to lack of materials. I started with stick figures that depicted the exodus of the Sudanese children. I continued work with African scenery, especially native African animals and landscape, and science illustrations for disease awareness in the camp. I devoted more time to art in Nashville, Tennessee, where I had a minimum wage job to buy the materials. I painted particularly with acrylic color on paper, canvas, river rock, and other available surfaces.
In Nashville, I attended school at a local junior college to obtain an associate degree in Computer Information Technology. I transferred to The Ohio State University in 2006 to study International Studies. I changed to Fine Arts and received a four-year degree in digital art. I see the positive impact of digital media in my current work as I execute various renderings using modern and traditional styles. I now look for unique perspectives, particularly through computer modeling, four-dimensional video, and two-dimensional digital manipulation.
I went back to Africa in 2007 for the first time in 20 years to have a reunion with my family. I met my mom, dad, and four siblings who were born after me. I was brave enough to hold my tears as I learned a lot of terrible things about their survival in the war zone for two decades. I learned that the enemy abducted my mom, sister, aunt, and her kids. Mom was the only lucky one to be left behind when she had to deliver her baby on the way. My aunt, with her kids, was able to escape later after a couple of months. My sister was lost until 2013 when she was found living with another tribe. Now she has just reunited with family after 28 years.
In 2010, I returned again to South Sudan with Steve Walker to assess the needs in my village. The chiefs told us that maternal and child health was the priority. We returned to Columbus determined to raise the funds needed to make this a reality. I make presentations to schools and churches to help raise money for the Buckeye Clinic. Again in 2018, Steve, Jok and I visited the village to see the progress and impact of the clinic in the lives of the mothers and children. It was a dream come true.
I continue to visit schools throughout the year sharing about the clinic and encouraging students to help in raising funds for the clinic. To date schools have helped to raise about $170,000.
I have been working very hard to support my wife, Ajiel, our two girls and three boys, and the family back in Africa. We now live in Dublin, Ohio, and I work at Honda in Marysville. I supplement my income with paintings on canvas and images of animals on rocks.
History of School Involvement
From the very beginning the Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan was built with the outpouring of love from students across Central Ohio who wanted to be part of the mission to save lives in South Sudan. As of 2019, schools have raised an incredible $170,000 for the clinic.
Bol Aweng and his cousin Jok Dau, Lost Boys of Sudan and co-founders of the Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan, discovered that the students that heard their story were the most enthusiastic about the potential of the Buckeye Clinic. Teachers saw it as an opportunity to encourage service-learning projects by raising awareness about refugees, about the Lost Boys and the dire needs in South Sudan that has experienced decades of war, famine and various humanitarian emergencies.
Many students have had an opportunity to learn firsthand from Bol Aweng, survivor of the crisis in southern Sudan. Inspired by his story, students wanted to help the people in Bol’s former village. High school, middle school, and even elementary school students have participated.
Through a power point presentation featuring his artwork depicting his life as a Lost Boy, Bol recalls his story. Students readily connect with him and his story because he was their age when he fled his country, walked 1,500 miles, and lived in refugee camps for 14 years. They are inspired to join him in his desire to improve maternal and child health conditions in his village. The schools over the years have done incredible fund-raising events to help support the work of the Buckeye Clinic.
List of Schools/Organizations
Places where Bol has spoken since 2009
- 5th Avenue International School
- Bexley High School Key Club
- Bexley Middle School
- Big Walnut Local School
- Blendon Middle School, Westerville
- Buckeyes Without Borders
- Columbus Academy
- Columbus Alternative and College Preparatory School
- Columbus Buckeye Middle School
- Columbus Global Academy
- Discovery Schools in Mansfield, OH
- Dublin Davis Middle School
- Dublin Sells Middle School
- Engineers Without Borders
- Global Gallery Friends
- Haywood Middle School Springfield School District
- Hilliard Bradley High School
- Hilliard Darby Creek Elementary
- Hilliard Darby High School Diversity Club
- Hilliard Horizon Elementary
- Hilliard Memorial Middle School
- Hilliard Ridgewood Elementary
- Hubbard Mastery School
- Licking Heights North Elementary
- Marburn Academy
- Newark Catholic
- Northmont Middle School in Clayton, OH
- Ohio State North and South Sudanese Association
- Pickerington Lakeview Junior High School
- Reynoldsburg Education Association
- River Valley Local School District
- Southwestern Park Street Intermediate
- Southwestern Park Street Intermediate School
- Students Against Genocide
- Upper Arlington Hastings Middle School
- Upper Arlington High School
- Upper Arlington Jones Middle School
- Wellington Middle School
- Wellington Upper School
- Westerville Walnut Ridge Middle School
- Worthington Linworth Alternative High School