Displaced as a child in Sudan when his village was attacked, Jany Deng spent years moving from place to place. Like many refugees, his childhood was a constant search for safety. Fortunately for Jany, he would eventually find his way to the United States.
Jany had no idea what to expect when he landed in America. The culture and language were new and different. Life was uncertain. But one person’s humankindness made a world of difference: his foster mom. She was thoughtful, nurturing, and she shared her values with Jany, which made him feel at home for the first time in a long, long time.
Today, as a licensed social worker, Jany is able to help people from vulnerable communities navigate the many complexities of the health care system. Because of his own experiences, Jany is able to relate to patients in unique ways. He helps patients attend follow-up appointments after they’ve visited the emergency room. He assists in addressing transportation issues. And he provides dietary guidance and other non-medical services that might not come up in an emergency visit or doctor’s appointment, but which still affect a patient’s health.
Jany has encountered great adversity and great humanity throughout his life. The compassion that people have shown him motivates him to share that same kindness with others who might also benefit. Jany says, “There was always somebody there to help me, to show me the way… Someday, when I’m somewhere and have something that I can offer, I want to give back.”