Sarah Nyanhial Tut,
came to Canada as a refugee without speaking or writing English. She started from the very beginning with her studies. From English as Second Language classes to being a University Student currently is a huge win for mothers and women everywhere. Thank you Sarah, for sharing your inspiring story. May we learn to ‘’stay the course,’’ just like you did.
What is the meaning of your name in your mother tongue?
My name is Sarah Nyanhial Tut. Sarah (origin from Hebrew) It means girl/ princess or Nyal in Thok Nath. During my baptism, the church and family decided to call me Sarah. Nyanhial. Nya (stands for a girl in Thok Nath). (Nhial) means raining or sky. Since l was born during the rainy seasons, my family named me Nyanhial. Both Sarah and Nyanhial are beautiful and blessed names.
You are a current student at the University of Saskatchewan. What was your educational journey leading up to that point?
My academic journey is full of fun and difficulties. I couldn’t speak, read or write when I came to Canada. I thought I was doing well in Canada and that I achieved something because of my heavy involvement in the community, I attended parties and community meetings. But I realized that I was just going in circles for years. I was prioritizing activities that only moved me far away from my goals and dreams. When I decided to take this academic journey. I knew that I had to burn down all bridges. I did not wish to engage in unnecessary activities anymore. I moved to a different city. I stopped associating myself with friends who weren't growing like me. I knew I can not achieve my goals while I am hanging around people who were not growing but doing the same thing, they did 2 years ago, 5 years ago and 8 years ago. 2015, I graduated from high school and enrolled in the University of Saskatchewan. I am graduating sometime this year with a Bachelor in Sociology, Minor in Women - Gender Studies and Certificate in Global Citizenship.
You are a mother and a student. How did you overcome the cultural stigma of educated women?
Most likely women experience discrimination in the education system. Most societies believe that women are just good for domestic work, such as looking after children, cooking, cleaning, looking after their men and elderly family members. Educated women do not always follow those expectations. They have careers, goals, hobbies that they want to achieve in life. Coming from South Sudanese Community, educated women experience double challenges because, generally, women do not get the same support or respect in this community as men. Educated women are most targeted by some uneducated men, uneducated women, and most educated men who have uneducated wives at homes. Educated women are normally viewed as a threat to men’s positions. But I strongly believe that if we want to be something greater in this life, we are all going to experience hatred, prejudice and discrimination. To make it in this life, do not expect support from communities, churches, families, and so on. I believe that it is always good just to have selective people in your life who support your strengths and goals.
You are a strong advocate for the education and empowerment of youth.
Why is that?
In this modern way of life, how could an uneducated youth handle global competitions?
The world is getting smaller. Now the English language is international that everybody must speak, read and write to get a job and connect with others. Countries exported jobs to different countries; most companies only hire specific group! Right now, a student from Canada could apply for a job in Australia or Juba because he or she has all the tools for that position. Those with a certificate or college degrees have a higher chance of winning the position over their uneducated counterparts.
Education gives us knowledge of the world around us, equips us with critical reasoning and provides us with the skills to better ourselves, family, community and society. I believe that Education provides the ability to interact with others whose cultural norms and beliefs are different from ours. I believe that Education is a useful tool a person can use to understand other cultures, live with others and work within intercultural situations. I highly support youth engagement in the Community. I mean community who love them and accepted them as who they are.
I believe that young people need a community where they can practice their leadership skills, straightening their identity and feeling a sense of belonging. There have been numerous unexpected deaths of South Sudanese boys in Canada these years. It is alarming. That suggested that there is a need for the South Sudanese community to pay attention to the root cause of these unexpected deaths. I believe that youths are the pillar of our community and the future of our society. The future is secured when the youth are educated. Youth engagement in the community can lead to better, health, better family, better community and better society.
CLICK HERE TO READ MY WHY IN LIFE POEM BY SARAH NYANHIAL TUT
Nyabuoy Gatbel is a South Sudanese Canadian currently living in Calgary, AB. She was born in Ethiopia in 1993 and moved to Canada as a refugee in 2002. She's currently a undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. Besides her studies she's a social entreprenuer focusing on the, ''Paarman Centre project,'' a fashion model, writer and author of the book, ''The Fire Within poetry in Thok Nath and English.''