ASMP has developed a local training program to ensure that our work is sustainable. ASMP trains locals in water well drilling and repair, welding, construction and maintenance, and agricultural techniques, skills that are vital in a region where the majority of the population has few opportunities for training or education. Already our apprentices have been hired for their skills in areas around Old Fangak.
Our ultimate goal is to provide sustainable development where we work: creating jobs, opportunities and livelihoods for locals. Through our employment and apprenticeship programs, locals are gaining lifelong skills in construction, welding, water well drilling and farming.
Meet The Apprentices
Jacob Lam Chuit
Jacob Lam, known affectionately as "Lammie!" is the eldest son of a very large family. His father has married four times, buried one wife, and sired fourteen children. Jacob was ASMP's first true "apprentice", beginning to work with us in 2009, when he approached Stephen after seeing the work being done on the clinic construction. He expressed a strong desire to learn and "to build good things.” He takes his position as the oldest in his family quite seriously, and is focused on being a role model and example to his younger siblings, showing them that there is a "better way" than the traditional cultural norms in South Sudan.
Jacob gained welding and carpentry skills quickly, and has been at the core of recruiting other young men into the ASMP apprentice program. After completing his primary schooling in Old Fangak and Malakal, he finished #3 in his class at Kajo-Keji secondary boarding school in South Sudan this past season. Jacob is very angry about the war currently tearing his country apart, and at the willingness of other young men to join the fighting without thinking: "They should know this is not the good way!"
A die-hard Manchester United fan, Jacob is also lamenting the fact that his team is struggling to stay out of the relegation zone in the English Premier League.
Mamal Tay Bangoang
Mamal is the last born of three brothers, and is the only one still living. His two older brothers were both killed in the war years. In 1998, the second son was killed as he was returning to school in Old Fangak. On the long walk from Malakal he was shot by soldiers from a different tribe. Mamal’s eldest brother, a sergeant in the SPLA, was killed in fighting near Malakal in 2001.
His mother, who is approximately 50 years old, lives in a village near Old Fangak with extended family. His father is in his 70’s and lives in a village many miles from Old Fangak and is not a real presence in his life.
Mamal has been working with ASMP since 2010, and was the third apprentice to join the program. He has become an experienced welder, and is currently assisting training other welding apprentices. He is also teaching welding to some of the workers in Dr. Jill Seaman’s clinic. Mamal is also an accomplished juggler, and the other boys say he is the only one who can correctly make rice for their evening meals.
Lam James Garang
James was the first young man to join the ASMP team, beginning working with David and Stephen in 2009. He was mature beyond his years then, and is no stranger to refugee status, or doing whatever it takes to continue his education. James spent 2005-2009 at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where he finished his primary school education. He returned to Old Fangak speaking fluent English, Swahili, Arabic along with his mother tongue, Nuer. His language skills and work ethic were of great assistance to ASMP in our first few years working in Old Fangak.
While attending secondary school in Kajo-Keji, South Sudan, since 2012, James has returned to work with ASMP during the school break periods. His dream is a University degree; David Kapla’s dream for him is President of South Sudan.
James is the last-born son of a family of four: two sisters and a brother. His mother died while James was young. His father is in his 80's, living in Phom, supported by his eldest brother. His two sisters live in Juba with their families; James hopes they are currently safe in the United Nation’s refugee camp in Juba, but has not been able to confirm their status as of yet.
Gabriel Timreal Wang
Gabriel is the last born of six children. His eldest brother, Tayak Wang, was the original farmer in ASMP’s Agriculture program, and is now instrumental in leading that program. His middle brother has been a soldier in the SPLA national army since 2006. His father is dead, and his mother, who is in her 70’s still works hard at the family farm, including scaring off hippos.
Gabriel started with ASMP in 2011, and like his brother, has an interest in farming. He and Mamal have recently been granted land from a local chief to start mango groves. They have already brought in 24 starter plants, and his brother Tayak will watch over the land while he goes away to school.
Known for his smile, Gabriel is always helping to keep the spirits of the other boys up.
Gabriel Gatluak Wichnok
Gabriel was the last born of four siblings, and his father was killed in the war in 2002 when Gabriel was nine. His eldest brother has been trapped at the United Nations camp in Juba during the conflict. His middle brother was in the Wildlife Police, but has now joined the rebellion. Gabriel knows all too well that ASMP and his education is the only way to avoid joining the conflict.
Gabriel has two extremely elderly grandparents still living; he proudly claims to have a 116 year old grandfather and 102 year old grandmother.
He is the best dancer of the apprentices, by far; his nickname is “Smoove G.” He is also very active in the local Comboni church and the Sunday cultural drumming and dancing gatherings. Gabriel joined ASMP in 2011, and is always the first of the crew to volunteer for any work.
Gatluok Thiay Tot
Gatluok is the eldest boy of four children, and his parents live in a village many miles from Old Fangak. He spent one year at the Kajo-Keji boarding school with Jacob Lam. He is the most recent apprentice to join the apprenticeship. He came to ASMP in 2012 after witnessing the growth of Jacob and Gabriel and he wanted to join the team. He has worked with Stephen during the rainy season while the other boys were away.
James is currently the only boy not in Old Fangak as he is stuck at the United Nation’s camp in Juba. James was introduced to ASMP in 2011 through Board Member Todd Hardesty, who was filming near Old Fangak at the time. James approached Todd and expressed his desire to go to school so he could be a doctor and help his people.
James’ father is deceased and his mother lives in a nearby village with two younger siblings. James went to Juba to finish primary school while living with his Uncle’s family.
Known for his safety, James religiously wears his hard hat and safety glasses, regardless of the specific job.