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    Getting behind young achievers, helping them do more

    Day 285

    Learning with a Little Luck

    Hello hello, everyone! My name is Andezu Orionzi, but many call me ‘Zu’, and I work at Alight in Minneapolis! I’m American-Ugandan, but I’ve spent most of my life in the Midwest, with multiple manifestations of where ‘home’ is. I’m continually learning from and inspired by others who have pieces of themselves around the world, too, and create communities that can also feel like home.

    The South Sudan community here in Minneapolis is one such example. I got the chance to be a part of their South Sudan Unite event, an annual gathering that brings the South Sudanese diaspora together to embrace shared culture, music, and educational workshops that empower the community for a brighter future.

    This year, SSU landed in Minneapolis for the first time, inviting hundreds of community members to convene and celebrate their cultural wealth. And we wanted to do something to support their effort – something to give a boost to young South Sudanese people who are making a remarkable life for themselves.

    Enter the Youth Educational Grant award!

    The Luol Deng Foundation, the organizing body for SSU, selected three, young recipients in a raffle-style drawing for the 2019 Youth Educational Grant, which we sponsored this year. The three that were drawn out of a hat were given $150, $150 and $200 to be used for back to school supplies and preparation, feeding excitement for their education.

    Sabrina, age 21, is a junior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus, studying Health Services Management and Public Health. Awot, age 18 and a Dallas native, will be a freshman at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Serenity, age 6, will begin first grade in the Twin Cities this fall!

    Serenity loves to play outside, practice gymnastics and her favorite color is “rainbow.” She is very excited to meet her new teacher and make friends in September!

    “I’m so happy I came to SSU and that I won the grant!” said Serenity with a twirl and beaming smile.

    Serenity’s father brings his children to South Sudan Unite because he wants them to know where they come from, and to see role models in the community who represent the culture of South Sudan here in the U.S. He dreams of one day taking Serenity and her siblings home to his village in South Sudan for the opportunity to see where they come from firsthand, and to visit the beautiful country that they still call home.


    Meet Zu! Zu works on the Global Connections Team at Alight in Minneapolis. She’s American-Ugandan, but she’s spent most of her life in the Midwest. She feels fortunate to have witnessed the power of human connection and understanding that is unleashed when we simply create space to come together and share our stories.


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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

    Let's Connect!