syracuse side hustles

E2: “What About the Other Children?”

Dut Deng, a janitor at Syracuse University and former lost boy, created a nonprofit to provide educational assistance to children and microloans for widows in Sudan.
Dut Deng

I always think about the people who live back home. If I have one hour or even just a second, I can spend that time doing something that helps other people’s lives.


Dut Leek Deng



Side Hustle:

Founder, South Sudan Initiatives



Who is your hustle hero?

Joe Henneberry, a SSI board member. And my wife. She always gives me good advice about how to go for another day. She’s not a person that would just give up easily.

Where have you found support in Syracuse for your side hustle?

I have a lot of Sudanese members who always tell me to keep moving forward. Sometimes I feel like giving up, and they say, “No, you can’t do that. This is a very good idea. It will help a lot of lives if you achieve it.” I have a lot of American friends from my church who are always asking about how the project is doing. So I have a lot of people who are supporting me.

What is a quote you live by?

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela

Are any SSI events coming up?

I’m going to a Sudanese refugee gathering in Grand Rapids, Michigan to look for fundraising sources.

 Dut Deng
Dut Leek Deng, a former lost boy of Sudan, wanted to ensure more children received access to education in his former homeland, and his wife encouraged him to start the project South Sudan Initiatives. “It was very scary,” he says, “but it was a good idea.” Photo by Randy Plavajka.

What are some helpful resources for non-profits in the Syracuse community?

On Point for College and the Central New York Community Foundation, which offer classes on how to write grants, fundraise, and manage funds. Also Syracuse University libraries — you can do research there, and they show you how to do things.

Connect with Deng

On the South Sudan Initiatives website or on LinkedIn