Sudanese genocide survivor is one of the speakers in February at Kiwanis Club

by Judy Horst on February 4, 2018

Imagine if you had no choice but to flee your country. Where would you go? How would you cope? What would you need to rebuild your life in exile? Would you help those left behind? These are the questions that South Sudanese have had to ask themselves in the face an unrelenting civil war, famine, violence and persecution. Up to 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the war and about three million displaced in a country of 12 million.

Gabriel Akim, a South Sudanese man, is one of those who survived. He immigrated to the Bay Area in 2006, after a long, terrifying, difficult journey, which he will relate in a talk, “Experiencing Genocide”, at Menlo Park’s Kiwanis Club, at a noontime luncheon on February 27th at the Allied Arts Guild.

Gabriel, while still a member of the larger group of “Lost Boys and Girls,” was also part of a sub-group that hid behind some hills, just north of Kenya, in a camp they called Natinga which means “no one can see us here.” He arrived in the U.S. several years after the first wave of Lost Boys and Girls who came to America at the turn of the century before 9/11.

Since being in the U. S., Gabriel has raised over $60,000 for South Sudanese children who attend school in Uganda. He also advises and partners with Rebuild South Sudan, a non-profit working to improve education in his home community of Kolnyang and the greater Jonglei area (on the Nile). Currently, Gabriel is a justice studies major and a human rights minor at San Jose State University. He plans to use his degree to continue to work for healing among South Sudanese populations— no matter where they are on the globe.

Other speakers during February include:

February 6: Bruce Wellings, How Do Recent Federal Tax Law Changes Affect You?

As people and businesses sort out the new tax law and how it will affect them, financial planners, CPAs and tax specialists try to make sense of the new law for their clients. Bruce Wellings, the head of Wellings Wealth Management and Wellings & Company, a CPA firm, will sort through the new tax code and review the most up to date interpretations of what lies ahead for individuals and businesses.

February 13: Louise DeDera, What You Really Need To Know About Valentine Secrets

There’s much more to Valentine’s Day than meets the eye. It’s more than valentine cards and candy, and Louise DeDera, local realtor and long-time Kiwanis member, will share those secrets in hopes that everyone derives even more enjoyment out of this special day.

February 20: Tim Wright, A Tourist’s View of Indonesia
The name Indonesia derives from the Greek name of the Indos (Ἰνδός) and the word nesos (νῆσος), meaning “Indian islands”. It is the world’s largest island country with more than 13,000 islands, and it is the world’s 4th most populous country. There’s much more to learn about Indonesia, and Tom Wright is the person to do just that.

Kiwanis Club Meetings are held every Tuesday at Allied Arts Center, from 12:00 – 1:15, and the club welcomes visitors. Contact the club to attend any of the programs or for more details.


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