Having grown up as a South Sudanese refugee in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp, Mary Maker ’19 understands the plight of other refugees who find themselves at heightened risk due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. Currently an undergraduate at St Olaf College in the USA through a scholarship from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, Mary has been working with the United Nations Refugees Agency (UNHCR) to organize outreach efforts to deliver essential supplies to refugee camps. Through her efforts, a shipment of sanitizers, soaps and masks was delivered to Kakuma earlier this month.
In this feature on ABC News in the USA, Mary referenced the South African maxim, Ubuntu, as an inspiration for her work.
In 2018, Mary, who lost both of her parents as a child, was a headline speaker at TEDxKakumaCamp, the first-ever TEDx event held in a refugee camp, where she articulated her passion for education in a powerful talk, Why Educating Refugees Matters. In the camp, she taught high school students English, Biology and Business Studies.
At St Olaf College, Mary’s academic interests revolve around Theatre and Gender Studies, and she was recently cast in the starring role for a performance of Mamma Mia at school.