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Thon Moses Chol
Mr. Thon Moses Chol is a “Lost Boy” refugee from South Sudan who was resettled to the United States in 2000. He is a refugee advocate and spokesperson and works as a Career Pathways Specialist for the Washington D.C. government.
When the war in Sudan reached Mr. Chol’s village in 1987, he was only four years old. He was forced to flee his village and fend for himself. After years of treacherous travel between Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya, Mr. Chol was finally resettled as an unaccompanied minor in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2000.
Although adjusting to life in the United States was difficult at first, he attributes his success to his strong support system. With his enduring determination and will, he graduated with a B.A. in 2006 and a Master of Social Work in 2008 from Western Michigan University.
Even before he arrived in the U.S., Mr. Chol was devoted to helping others. In the Kenyan Refugee Camp where he lived, he taught pre-schoolers and worked as a counselor for the Jesuit Refugee Service and Lutheran World Federation. In Michigan, he was Executive Director of the Sudanese Community of West Michigan. He continues to help others through his work with the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency as a Career Pathways Specialist. The Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service (LIRS) honored him in 2011 with the Spirit of Welcome Award, and he was recently nominated to the LIRS Board of Directors. In addition, Rev. Chol is also an ordained Minister at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.A.
In 2010, Mr. Chol testified before Congress about the refugee crisis in Sudan. He is very excited to be able to participate in the Refugee Congress and have his voice heard again. He hopes to discuss the issues of public education for refugee protection, funding for recently arrived refugees, and mental health support.