Alek’s older sister had moved to Britain before the civil war, and applied on behalf of her family for refugee status. In 1991 Alek and her younger sister were accepted, but it was two years before they were joined by their mother and two more of their nine siblings. The remaining family members were finally given refuge by Australia and Canada.
Alek’s father, Athian, once broke his hip in a bicycle accident, and his hip was repaired with metal pins. He soon developed an infection and upon the family’s return to Wau, he became paralysed and died not much later. This shows the very poor healthcare standards in Sudan and the plight of the people.
While living with her sister in England, Alek supported herself with odd jobs outside school hours and sent money back to her mother. She learnt English quickly, and went on to study fashion technology and business at the prestigious London College of Fashion.
Alek knows that it is an awful feeling to be hungry. Still, she understands now that people are hungry for different reasons. Some want their bodies to look a certain way, whether their bodies are meant to or not. They choose not to eat.
In restaurants in her Brooklyn neighborhood, she always asks for a doggie bag, to bring the leftovers home. Having experienced hunger and poverty in Sudan, she finds it embarrassing that she should have so much more than others do.
Ales decided to share her perspective and help bridge the gap between two completely different worlds – the world of plenty and the world of paucity. She raises awareness about the situation in Sudan, as well as the plight of refugees worldwide. She is a missionary for World Vision, an organisation which combats AIDS, an ambassador for Doctors Without Borders in Sudan, and devotes time to UNICEF. She has been always faithful to her Sudanese heritage.