“IF YOU WANT TO GO FAST, GO ALONE. IF YOU WANT TO GO FAR, GO TOGETHER.”
— African Proverb
Our board members have seen the vast needs of the young people of South Sudan, and know that they will flourish if given access to education. Each board member is an advocate for our students and responsible for Africa ELI’s good governance, networking, and fundraising.
Amanda holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee. She currently works as the Community Business Development Manager for Barnes & Noble. She has been directly involved with Africa ELI since 2010.
Chelsea has been directly involved with Africa ELI since 2013. She holds an associates degree in Business and a bachelors degree in Liberal Arts. She worked as a financial service specialist at Regions Bank from 2013-2015, and currently works in property management.
Lauryn Bragg works at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with the Geographic Information Science and Technology Group. Since joining the group in 2014, Lauryn has conducted population density research for countries all over the world in many different categories. She received a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from The University of Tennessee in 2012, and is currently working on a GIS Graduate Certificate from the University of Denver, which she expects to receive in 2018. Afterward, she plans to pursue a masters degree in International Development.
Cheyenne received a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee in 2012. Over the past five years, she has spent her time working with displaced and forgotten peoples on the island of Hispaniola, as well as refugees and impoverished families in the inner city communities of Knoxville, TN. Currently, she is an office manger and freelance wedding and event planner.
Anita has worked in South Sudan since 2006, and became Executive Director of Africa ELI in 2010. She directs overall programming, operations, and financial assets to improve secondary school accessibility, quality of education, and youth leadership skills in South Sudan. Emphasizing the importance of girls’ education and gender equality, she travels extensively to mobilize stakeholders, develop partnerships, and advocate for the young people of South Sudan.
Monitoring and Program Officer
Abby will graduate with her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from American University in December 2017, after which she plans to spend two years teaching in Washington DC public schools as part of Teach for America. She strongly believes in Africa ELI’s mission, which she serves through grant research and writing. Abby is passionate about women’s rights, educational equity, and the power of langauge.
Lisette is a high school senior in Knoxville, Tennessee. She manages the social media accounts for Africa ELI. She is interested in pursuing in law and international relations.
Jonathan dedicates much of his time to volunteering with Africa ELI. He handles our website maintenance, donor database management, and network administration. Jonathan served in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Analyst, following which he decided to pursue social work. After earning his Master of Science in Social Work degree from the University of Tennessee, he worked as a psychotherapist and administered a program for adults with severe and persistent mental illness at a community mental health center.
Robert Lair and Atem Deng
In January 2006, Atem Deng, a former Sudanese refugee, and Robert Lair, a social entrepreneur and educator, founded our organization. It was created after a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005, bringing the conflict in southern Sudan to an official close. The CPA created a critical opportunity for development to take place in this region. In 2004, Deng and Lair asked Sudanese they met at refugee camps throughout East Africa what was most needed in their homeland. “Education” was the resounding answer they received.