Michael Ayuen de Kuany
President and CEO
Michael Kuany has dedicated his life to the service of the Sudanese people and to the Sudanese refugee community in the United States. Himself a child refugee at age 6 during the Second Sudanese Civil War, Michael was driven from his home and family along with thousands of other Dinka children, making a dangerous, thousand-mile trek to a relief camp in Ethiopia. During Michael’s 14-year sojourn from one refugee camp to another he educated himself and in 2001 was one of 3,800 Lost Boys of Sudan who attained their citizenship in the United States.
Michael earned his BA in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2006 and his MA in Conflict Transformation in 2009 from Eastern Mennonite University. He has also tutored Sudanese refugees and helped them find meaningful employment and has served as an intern with the United Nations Development Programme in Juba, Sudan. Michael founded Rebuild Sudan in 2005 to offer the children and families of Sudan an opportunity to educate themselves and rebuild their home – a chance to dream and have a future. Presently, his home is in Oshkosh while he serves in Sudan as Rebuild Sudan’s President and CEO.
Michael often says that, during his difficult childhood, education was his mother and father. The circumstances of his life could have hardened his heart. The loss of family, nation, friends and place is more than most people could endure. But Michael has made a gift of his life to the people of Sudan.
Blake has been working and learning in the field of sustainable development for nearly a decade. Among his diverse experiences include a year in a rain forest without running water or electricity working at a sustainable-harvest tree farm. He has traveled with Engineers Without Borders to install solar power systems in Haiti and was awarded a design fellowship at Architecture for Humanity. He holds a degree in Environmental Economics from Oregon State University and attempts reduce his carbon footprint by buying food from CSA (community supported agriculture) farms and heating his house with a 400% efficient geothermal system he designed and installed. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife, Sabina, and son, Milo.
Blake first met Michael in 2009 on a trip to South Sudan. Blake immediately took to heart Michael’s vision and the challenges it presented. He has been working with Michael and Rebuild Sudan in one capacity or another ever since. In 2011, Blake became the executive director of Rebuild Sudan and continues to be inspired and motivated by the people giving so much of their time and talents to benefit South Sudan.
Director of Communications
Sarah has been interested in story-telling since she wrote her first story in elementary school at age 9. With a degree in English and Fine Art, creative, visual story-telling has become her passion. With her own photography and filmmaking business, she is continually challenged to see, capture, and tell the stories around her. Sarah lives in Berkeley CA, where she grew up, with her husband, David, who has also traveled to South Sudan with Rebuild Sudan.
When Sarah first met Michael in 2008, his story completely captivated her. And the story Michael was and is living never ceases to amaze her. In May of 2011 she traveled to South Sudan with a team to capture, on film, the story of Michael and Rebuild Sudan. Prior to that, in January, Sarah came on as Director of Communications at Rebuild Sudan, to develop and form the telling of Rebuild Sudan’s story. She continues to create and produce short films about Rebuild Sudan. Watch the films here!
Stephanie De La Rosa
Stephanie’s work with international development started with her Peace Corps volunteer experience where she worked as a Primary Resource Teacher in Lesotho, Southern Africa from 1994-96. She has since evolved into the field of accounting, specializing in nonprofit accounting, while remaining committed to the development and sustainability of developing countries. She has traveled to 29 countries, 13 of those in Africa. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Wichita State University, an M.A. in International Development from New York University and an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Phoenix. Stephanie has been working with Rebuild Sudan since November 2010 and recalls during her interview with Michael the immediate bond she felt with Rebuild Sudan and its mission as they discussed the history of the Lost Boys and her travels through Africa.
Six years ago, Marianne left her hometown of San Antonio for the plains of West Texas. She emerged with a Bachelor’s of Science in Architecture with Honors from Texas Tech University and headed for Dallas to begin her career. Armed with a head for design and a heart for volunteering, she began searching out ways to unite the two. While gaining experience in hospitality and large-scale commercial design, her passion for designing with people, not simply for them, led her to the local chapter of Architecture for Humanity. Collaborating with these like-minded designers developed her passion for urban renewal, community engagement, and the meaning of truly sustainable design. Stepping into the public interest realm of architecture, Marianne is honored to be a part of Rebuild Sudan’s dedicated team of talented professionals. After her internship, Marianne will be pursuing her MArch in the fall of 2012. When she isn’t glued to a computer screen, you can find her obsessing over music, experimenting in the kitchen, enjoying the outdoors or searching for the perfect cup of coffee.
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