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Meet Rachel Awak

by Debra Dawson

Rachel Awak


Rachel Awak is 17 years old and has a heart for others. Her goal is to be a doctor or work in the medical field. She wants to help people who don’t have money for treatment. When Rachel visits the refugee camps, she’s learned that she has a talent for helping sick children and elderly people. This affirms her conviction that she’s meant to work in this field. Science is her best subject, and she loves it. Rachel enjoys everything at school, because she knows these experiences will help herself and others.

Playing netball (similar to volleyball) is her favorite free time activity with friends. Doing well in class makes her feel happy, and thinking about her schoolwork makes her smile. But she also enjoys learning outside of school. Like all of the ASAH girls, she was excited when she learned to make bread, cakes, and chapatti during the month of January at ChildVoice Intl, a nonprofit that teaches vocational skills.

Rachel’s favorite foods are chips (fries) and chicken, and she likes the colors white and brown. These are the colors of some cows, her favorite animals. Every color pattern has a name in Dinka culture, and boys are given a namesake bull to mark their coming of age. These customs are being lost with so many South Sudanese displaced to refugee camps.

The most influential person in her life is her aunt, who is also her guardian. The person she continues to think of with admiration is her mother, because her mom was the person who took care of her when she was young. If Rachel could visit any place in the world “it would be America, because the life of American is better than one of African.”

Dinka: Legendary Cattle Keepers of South Sudan

If you follow this link, you will see stunning pictures of the Dinka herdsmen before war began displacing them. 

 Dinka Man with Long Horned Cattle - Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher 

About the Author

Debra DawsonDebra Dawson

Deb Dawson is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, businesswoman, teacher, humanitarian, and philanthropist. She holds a B.S. Ed. in Education and English, and an MFA in Creative Writing. Her role as mother to biological, step, and internationally adopted children led her to write When Love is Not Enough, a memoir about the way mothers and daughters forge relationships in the face of tremendous obstacles.


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