Ayual Community Background
The Ayual is a community within the Dinka tribe located in Southern Sudan's Jonglei State, Twic East County. The Ayual belong to the Nyuak (Wangulei) Payam along with the Awulian and Dacuek clans. The Ayual is a community with a complex culture of beliefs, traditions, customs, norm and values. Among the most solemn community activities are wrestling, dancing, marriage and worship. Animals, crops and fish are the main source of livelihood.
Like many other communities in South Sudan, the Ayual have suffered as a result of Sudan's 21 year civil war between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and the Northern Islamic government. Almost half of the Ayual population died during this war, which killed over 2 million and displaced over 4 million South Sudanese. Many of the Ayual community's social, health and economic infrastructures have been destroyed.
The Ayual Community is working hard so current and future generations have access to better education and health care. Commerce opportunities and better living standards are slowly beginning to emerge as the result of peace in the nation and the efforts of community members, both in South Sudan and in exile.
Ayual Community Development Association
The idea for an organization began after many were displaced from home as a result of war. The Ayual community students attending school in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya developed the idea and former head chief of the Nyuak Payam and senior SPLA officer, Bul Kuer Manyok Duot, encouraged the students to move forward with this powerful vision. He brought the idea to church leaders to help with implementation. The Rev. Deng Chol Deng, a senior priest of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, recognized the idea as being crucial and extended it to community members. The Rev. Bul Garang and Rev. Simon Yak, among others, become active in that process and in 2000, the Ayual Community in Kakuma Refugee Camp elected a leadership team of nine individuals headed by Malual Ajak Mabil. At that time, the organization was known as the Ayual Students and Welfare Association and it worked to provide books and other basic educational supplies to Ayual students in the camp and to establish a learning center for them.
Soon after that, Ayual community members began resettling outside of Africa and the association recognized the importance of continuing the vision in other areas where Ayual community members lived. The Ayual community's lost boys and girls who resettled in the U.S. from 2000 through 2001, later organized themselves and began contributing resources to support this organization and soon objectives were expanded beyond the scope of education. As a result, the association's name was changed in 2003 to the Ayual Community Development Association (ACDA). The ACDA was incorporated under the leadership of David Biar Gak in March of 2004 with the assistance of the Blank Rome Law Firm in Philadelphia. The ACDA now has branches around the globe, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan.