Osborne Park family day care program helping South Sudanese community


Peter Deng with Nyankiir Deng (11), Majok Riak (8), Akuch Riak (9) and Ajoh Deng (9). Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Peter Deng with Nyankiir Deng (11), Majok Riak (8), Akuch Riak (9) and Ajoh Deng (9). Picture: Andrew Ritchie

OSBORNE Park-based Peter Deng has set up a family day care program to educate and support the children in his South Sudanese community.

Born in South Sudan, Mr Deng said he did not want Perth young people following in the footsteps of recent gang related issues that plagued Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

“I came to realise that children are not being supported by educators and I thought it would be a good idea for me to contribute in educating children and inspiring youth in this area; so what happened in Melbourne doesn’t happen here,” he said.

“If we intervene we will have a good generation; we are all obligated to contribute positively for the future.”

His business Alpha Family Day Care has started a free project encouraging children to write and illustrate their own books linking their Sudanese culture to their Aussie identities.

“This program has attracted many people and I have had calls from people in Melbourne wanting to know how I have done it,” he said.

Coming from war torn Sudan 19 years ago, Mr Deng said it was important for the next generation of South Sudanese Australians to understand how lucky they were to be in a safe and peaceful country.

“This is such a safe place, yet our home is not safe, people are fighting and there has been over 40 years of people fighting and killing one another back home,” he said.

“We want them to appreciate and know that Australia is a safe place and understand that and communicate that with others.

“It is heartbreaking when you see children misbehaving – let’s say what happened recently in Melbourne – it is truly heartbreaking.”

Mr Deng said many parents in the South Sudanese community worked two jobs as new migrants so the program played a vital role in their children’s learning experience.

“It is difficult for a lot of these kids because English isn’t their first language and not spoken at home; we need support them up because they may be at risk,” he said.

“The media often speaks about the African community in a negative way but doesn’t highlight the good things that we do in the community.”

Eight-year-old Majok Riak said he wanted to write more books like My African Animals, which was illustrated by nine-year-old Akuch Riak.

“It makes me feel proud to have written a book and I want to show my friends,” he said.

Nyankiir Deng (11) and Ajoh Deng (9) said some of the stories from The Jungle Stories were based on Sudanese folk tales.

“I want to be a teacher for primary school children when I grow up,” Ajoh said.