founding President of Friendship Outreach
International, Phillip Awan Deng is a South
Sudanese native. He left his home country
at a younger age due to the one of the longest
civil war in his country then known as Sudan.
The civil war started in 1983 between Central
Sudanese Government and Sudan’s People
Liberation Army which cost about two millions
of lives most of which children and women.
The war between two parties lasted till 2005.
Thousands of young boys ages 6 to 12 were
forced out to neighboring countries. This
particular group of young boys walked hundreds
of miles, for weeks, and sometimes months
bare-foot without food and drinking water.
Some of whom did not make it to Ethiopia dying
from hunger, thirst, and wild life animals.
As you can imagine, there was no adequate
adult supervision during this horrifying journey.
This group of young children later named “Lost
Boys of Sudan” and eventually forced
once again to flee to Kenya due to internal
war in Ethiopia. The “Lost Boys of Sudan”
found a home in Kenya (Kakuma Refugee Camp)
where they went to school and later given
an opportunity to come to the United States
for education and better life.
Phillip was among the lucky roughly estimated 2500
“Lost Boys of Sudan” chosen to come
to the U.S.
August 28th, 2001, just two weeks before September
11th Phillip arrived in the United States and immediately
recognized the importance of education. He put himself
to college attending school fulltime and working
fulltime in order to continue to live the life style
he wanted. Phillip understood the importance of
education. Four years later, he graduated with a
Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice
Early on in 2002, Phillip Deng was involved with
South Sudanese communities within Pennsylvania helping
out his South Sudanese fellows who were struggling
adjusting to the cultural differences. He was then
recognized by his peers and voted a President of
South Sudanese living in the state of Pennsylvania
which was formed in Philadelphia area. The South
Sudanese Association was supported by the Lutheran
in Philadelphia. Numerous meetings were held State
college, Philadelphia and Lancaster, PA. He continued
to enhance the South Sudanese rich culture by keeping
his South Sudanese fellows united.
In 2005, peace agreement was reached by Dr. John
Garang of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army
(SPLA). Garang was sworn in as vice-president as
part of the power-sharing deal but was killed in
a helicopter crash two weeks later. Garang’s
deputy, Salva Kiir was sworn in as the new vice-president.
In the 2010 elections, Salva Kiir was reelected
president of the semi-autonomous South. South Sudan
became independent July 9, 2011, officially breaking
away from Sudan after 2 civil wars over 5 decades
that cost the lives of millions.
Phillip was reminded once again about what brought
him to the land of opportunities (United States)
when the conflict erupted in the newest nation,
South Sudan. The fight believed to start as political
differences between South Sudanese democratic elected
President, Salva Kiir and former vice President,
Riek Machar. The fight quickly spread across the
country of South Sudan and Phillip’s entire
family members were affected in Bor, South Sudan
as a result. Phillip quickly alerted his South Sudanese
fellows through local news media (WGAL and Fox43
News) and wasted no time and flew to Uganda where
he helped his family settle at the refugee camps.
Phillip first-hand witnessed the horrific living
condition at the refugee camps as he was visiting
each camp. He also went to Juba, South Sudan where
the fight began. Unaccounted number of civilians
lost lives during this unnecessary war and millions
of civilians were affected nationwide. When Phillip
came back, he showed some of the pictures he took
to his wife, Amanda Deng and immediately came up
with the idea of “do something”. Growing
up as a Christian, Phillip always wanted to help
other people. His wife supported him and began to
talk to his friends, co-workers, neighbors and strangers
With full support from his wife, Amanda, Phillip
started to explore the resources of starting the
non-profit organization to help refugees and internally
displaced families in Uganda and South Sudan. And
with the support from family, South Sudanese in
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and American friends, the
faith-based non-profit organization, Friendship
Outreach International was born. This organization
will focus in helping refugees and internally displaced
families in two countries in Eastern African Continent,
providing basic human necessities to one family
at a time. We hope you join in with Phillip helping
the refugees and internally displaced families.