Hartwick to Host Lecture By Sudanese ‘Lost Boys’

April 21, 2017

The Hartwick College Education Club will host two former “Lost Boys” of South Sudan on Friday, April 28, at 5 p.m. in the Celebration Room, Shineman Chapel House, on the College Campus. Cousins Sebastian Maroundit and Mathon Noi will present “Building Minds in South Sudan,” discussing their efforts to rebuild schools in their homeland.

Born in a rural village in South Sudan, the cousins were less than 10 years old when war came to their village and separated them from their families. They escaped to Ethiopia only to experience war again within four years. In 1991, they left Ethiopia and spent a year walking 1,000 miles across the hot desert, through rivers swarming with deadly crocodiles and areas with prowling lions. Finally, they landed at a refugee camp in Kenya. In this camp, both were educated through the 8th grade. In 2001, Sebastian and Mathon were able to resettle in the United States.

In 2007, the pair returned to South Sudan for a visit and 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 schools to provide basic education for children.

Today, the former “Lost Boys” are now adults living and working in Rochester, NY. They have started a foundation, Building Minds in South Sudan, whose mission is to rebuild the schools in the villages of South Sudan that were destroyed during the decades-long civil war. Two schools serving more than 800 students each have already been built and more are on the way. 

“The story of Sebastian and Mathon is one of amazing perseverance, survival, and the importance of education,” said Associate Professor of Education Dr. Elizabeth Bloom. “Their efforts to rebuild schools in the face of such hardships are inspiring. We applaud their work because every child deserves an education.”

For additional information on the presentation, contact Bloom at or (607) 431-4945.