Sudan refugee gains a second chance


Zachariah Magok shows off photos of when he was in refugee camps in Africa for 15 years before making Canada his home.

A Lethbridge College student is now looking forward to a new and brighter future now that he has settled in Canada. Zachariah Magok was one of the lost boys of Sudan that started in 1987 when civil war occurred.
Magok was young when he fled home and was on the run from death or being captured as a child soldier. A lot of the things he’s seen still resides with him and are hard to forget while he was placed in a refugee camp for years.
“A lot of things were happening in the camp. Nothing was easy. It was hard for all refugees to stay there, but there was no option. As where we were told to stay and we had to stay there,” said Magok.


It was especially tough as Magok was supposed to be on a plane back in 2001 until the terrorist attacks that happened in the United States kept him in Africa. Even though it was a tough realization that he couldn’t come overseas, he knew there was nothing he could do.
“It’s something happening and there’s no solution for it and there’s nothing some of us could do. Cause it’s a bad thing that you had to witness,” added Magok.
Now that Zachariah is in Canada he can focus on working on his degree and moving forward in helping others. His instructors know that an international student faces a lot of challenges other than just homework.
“When we teach English as a second language we’re preparing them for real world tasks. So it may be going to the dentist or the doctor and making an appointment. It may be just figuring out how to scrape that ice off your windshield,” said English language centre instructor, Patt Filipchuk-Williams.
Magok is now thankful the Government of Canada has given him the opportunity and is hopeful for the future.
“That one day things will change and I can go somewhere to start learning. Actually God has heard my prayers, that’s why I’m here. I’m so happy to be in Canada.”
Zachariah will finish his English courses this year and start working on his degree in social work next year.

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Steve Seto is in his second year of Digital Communications & Media program in the Digital Journalism stream. He has a large passion for sports and hopes to start a career in radio or television after graduation.