Born in the rural village of Mayen-Abun in Twic County, South Sudan, cousins Sebastian Maroundit and Mathon Noi were less than ten years old when the war came to their village and separated them from their families. They escaped to Ethiopia only to experience war again within 4 years. In 1991, they escaped from Ethiopia and spent a year walking across the hot desert to a refugee camp in Kenya. In this camp, both were educated through the 8th grade. In 2001, Sebastian and Mathon were selected as two of the 3,800 who would resettle in the United States. Mathon recently graduated from Niagara University majoring in Accounting, while Sebastian is pursuing his Business Degree.
In the summer of 2007, they both returned to their village. Though Sebastian lost his father during the war and Mathon lost his mother, they were reunited with their surviving parents after 18 years apart. They were dismayed to find their village in poor condition, with no roads or clean water. The children of the village were being taught under a large tree, because the school had been destroyed.
Since that visit, they have been passionately committed to helping rebuild hope in their village by building a school to provide a basic education for the children.