It Starts with Education
The resilience and the tenacity of ACE scholars and their families constantly moves us. Take the Doldol family for example. Many might remember Dau Doldol, who spoke at the Annual Luncheon two years ago. He spoke on how war, his mother’s courage, the United States, and ultimately ACE and education changed his life. Now, it is time for another unique perspective, Dau’s sister, Aluel.
Born in South Sudan during conflict and war, Aluel’s family was forced to escape and live in a refugee camp until finally finding asylum in Denver. By fate, she received an ACE scholarship and now she stands as living proof that with opportunity comes limitless success.
Aluel’s education began in an overcrowded school house at the 2nd largest refugee camp in East Africa. Home to nearly 200,000 people, education was not the focus and hardly any learning was taking place. When her single-mother learned of their refuge to Denver, Colorado, Aluel’s mother felt hopeful until realizing their family faced their own set of challenges with the transition to life in the United States.
Living in a low-income neighborhood, violence was present and the public-school options were underperforming. Aluel ‘s mother knew her children were not prepared for success.
Luckily, Aluel’s mother discovered a neighborhood private school partnered with ACE Scholarships, where they would have the opportunity to enroll in a quality private school with a supportive environment that fostered growth and learning.
“My early feelings about my learning experience transformed from daunting and overwhelming, to positive and exciting…” Aluel said.
She went on to high school at Arrupe Jesuit where she graduated with acceptance to Notre Dame University and the Daniel’s Fund Scholarship.
Now, she wants to give back by attending law school and ultimately, work to give others equal opportunity in regard to education. Last year, she started a Notre Dame chapter of the Global non-profit, Education Bridge. Education Bridge builds and operates schools that focus on helping students develop peacebuilding skills. As President, she and other members raise money and awareness for secondary education in South Sudan.
Aluel is representative of the power of ACE. Investing in this young woman, as with our investment in all of our scholarship recipients, represents a belief in the potential of all students. Through opportunity and education, all students are capable of changing the direction of their life and ultimately, to leave a positive impact in our country and this world.
“It was the hope my mother yearned for, the opportunity we would never have, and the future we always wanted. I am dedicating my life to bridging the international education gap, and believe me, I have the determination and grit to do it! I do everything I do for those who could not leave and receive this type of education. I firmly believe I am learning for them too. Thank you for believing in education. Thank you for giving a mother, a family, and a young girl from East Africa a chance.”
To learn more about Aluel, please listen to her story and click here.