Ten-year campaign ends in Adelaide reunion

Wednesday, 20 October 1999

Ten years of frustration have ended for Adelaide University staff member Ben Yengi with the arrival from Africa of seven of his family.

Sudanese-born Mr Yengi, the Thebarton Campus Community Relations Officer, had fought since 1989 to bring his relatives to Australia from a refugee camp in Uganda.

Year after year, bureaucratic obstacles blocked his efforts, but he refused to give up.

"It has taken a lot of perseverance and tolerance not just on the part of my family in Uganda but also my family here in Australia," he said.

Mr Yengi's relatives have suffered greatly as a result of the Sudanese civil war. In 1989, they were forced to take shelter in the Adjumani Refugee Camp in northern Uganda. His father, brother, sister-in-law, niece and eight cousins all died in the disease-ridden camp.

In 1996 Mr Yengi arranged for his sick brother, sister-in-law, and seven nephews and nieces to leave the refugee camp and move into a flat in Kampala. To cover the $300-a-month rent, he launched an appeal fund in Adelaide.

"It would have been impossible to maintain them without the donations of the University community, Scotch College and the public," Mr Yengi said. "I'm particularly thankful to the people at Thebarton Campus, especially Rex Hunter, for the concern and support they showed.

"I'm also grateful to the politicians and church leaders in Adelaide who have helped and to Kevin Liston, Director of the Australian Refugee Association."

The newly-arrived family, who have been admitted on sponsored humanitarian visas, are all talented singers and musicians and performed at the recent Ceduna Oyster Festival.

Mr Yengi, who took out a $10,000 loan to pay the family's airfares, has now set himself a new challenge. He wants to bring to South Australia his youngest brother's eight orphaned children, all of whom are still in the Ugandan refugee camp.


Contact Details

Mr Ben Yengi
Email: ben.yengi@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/OIL/
Coordinator Industry and Community Partnerships
Office of Industry Liaison
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4574
Mobile: 0422 008 377

Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084

Mr David Ellis
Email: david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au
Website: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/newsroom/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762